The Royal Tinfoil
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The Royal Tinfoil

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Alternative country duo The Royal Tinfoil professes a vintage, blues-driven sound, featuring its multitalented members Lily Slay and Mackie Boles on vocals, guitar, banjo and a variety of different, and even homemade, instruments.

The son of a songwriter, Boles was raised on bluegrass and banjo, whereas Slay comes from a background in classical cello and has been rocking the guitar for the past eight years.

The duo began performing together five months ago and has since shared the stage with established Charleston favorites including Lindsay Holler's Western Polaroids and Carrie Ann Hearst.

The duo can frequently be seen performing around the Market downtown. Their next featured gig will be at Home Team BBQ in Sullivan's Island on Oct. 8.

Preview caught up with Boles and Slay at Kudu Coffee and chatted about Guns N' Roses, gum and the perils of being a broke musician.

Q: Love the name. What's the story behind it?

Slay: The Royal Tinfoil is very appropriate for our current economic standpoint: depression era chic, making something out of nothing. We don't have a lot of equipment. …

Boles: We're both pretty poor. …

Slay: We were using a pick-up on his guitar with chewing gum for a while. The gum transmits the sound into the speaker with the acoustic pick-up.

Boles: It didn't work that well. When it was wet, it kind of slid off.

Slay: Yeah, you have to let your gum dry a little bit. But as we get more gigs, we're slowly able to get more equipment.

Q: What type of gum was it?

Slay: It was somebody's Dentyne.

Boles: We didn't have any, so we had to borrow it at the venue.

Q: Speaking of making something out of nothing, what exactly is the lampoline?

Slay: The lampoline is an instrument we made. We take it to almost every show. It's a metal lampshade with 'The Royal Tinfoil' written on the inside. We play it with drum brushes or drum sticks. Because we don't have a drummer, it's our portable drums.

Q: How would you describe your sound?

Slay: We do a lot of ragtimey, old-style country and blues with Southern influences.

Q: What artists would you cite as your influences?

Boles: I love The Black Keys and My Morning Jacket.

Slay: I really like powerful, female vocalists; women whose voices are smokey and sultry. I love singers like Rachel Yamagata and Fiona Apple. Michael Trent and Carrie Ann Hearst are big influences for us, too. They're awesome.

Q: And now, the million-dollar question: what's your favorite album of all time?

Boles: That's a tough one. My favorite album from last year was The Kills' 'Midnight Boom.'

Slay: Even though it's not what you'd expect, I'd have to say that my favorite album of all time is 'G N' R Lies' by Guns N' Roses. That's my go-to album; I always get pumped when I listen to it. I love my good, depressing music and my poignant songwriters, but at the end of the day, I always come back to the stand-by.

The Royal Tinfoil

Members: Mackie Boles (vocals, various instruments), Lily Slay (vocals, various instruments).

Originally from: Charleston (Boles), Virginia (Slay).

Web site: myspace.com/theroyaltinfoil.
- Lisa Ryan - The Post and Courier


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Bio

Two kids from the skids got together to wax sinful about bourbon, gypsies, impure women, pills, thrills, and bills. With TRTF, versatility is key: we play soft, heart-wrenching numbers, raucous, gut-busty blues and everything in between. The name "The Royal Tinfoil" was coined in the vein of depression era chicness. True to our roots, we shake things up with homemade instruments and our highly portable, we-can-play-at-a-moments-notice set-up.