The Roys
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The Roys

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Bluegrass


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"Lonesome Whistle - The Roys"

Previously known to fans of small-town radio for their rootsy country music found on their first album Good Days or their The Beautiful EP, the brother-sister duo of Lee and Elaine Roy have joined roots music label Rural Rhythm Records to release their latest album Lonesome Whistle. Although the duo hails from Massachusetts, they have long had a soft-spot for Bluegrass and traditional country music and that’s exactly the sweet spot that they hit with this album, which they produced with bluegrass musician Andy Leftwich.

The lead single “Coal Minin’ Man” starts off Lonesome whistle and it immediately showcases that fantastic blend of vocal and instrumental melody that – in a just world – would make the Roys a household name on radio and CMT. I dare the listener open to great music to not have their foot tappin’ to the beat. I know I was, along with harmonizing by the second chorus. Country and bluegrass icon Ricky Skaggs and the Whites join The Roys on tender ballad “That’s What Makes It Love” and the message of the song is certainly something that anyone who has managed to eek out a living and survive despite harsh times or low income will find comforting and relatable. Fans of Marty Stuart’s work will definintly appreciate “Nothin’ That I Can Do About It Now,” a song that Lee Roy wrote with Josh Thompson (“Way Out Here”) and Arliss Albritton. It is produced in the bluegrass, acoustic way but this is a country song through and through.

While many groups would be happy to have just one of the members be the lead singer, Lee Roy shares the lead duties with Elaine and on songs like “Trailblazer,” “Right Back At You” and the spirited title track, the second ‘train’ song on the record after “Nothing That I Can Do About It Now.” Here she sings a song about a train that is instrumental in a couple’s lives. Fans of Joey + Rory will appreciate the harmony and melody presented here, particularly the fantastic mandolin breakdown performed by Andy Leftwich. Elaine also sings the acoustic country ballad “Everything I Ever Wanted,” a song about a daughter thinking about the impact her mother had on her in her life.

As with many bluegrass albums, there are a couple of songs that hit spiritual notes, including “That’s What Makes It Love.” Two of them, “I Wonder What God’s Thinking” and “Give A Ride To The Devil” showcase this in different way, with the former looking at the ‘last ones,’ the ones who seemingly fall through societies cracks that you have to wonder what God thinks about their plight while the latter finds The Roys singing about how one bad decision in life can turn you into something you don’t or didn’t want to become.

With eleven fantastic tracks of acoustic country and bluegrass goodness, The Roys debut album for Rural Rhythm Records gets better with each and every listen and dang if it doesn’t show how fantastic family harmonies and fantastic instrumentals played by a crack band of pros like Randy Kohrs, Cody Kilby, Justin Moses, Mark Fain and Steve Brewster adds up to a supremely satisfying album worthy of listening from track one to eleven.

- Matt Bjorke for

"The Roys - Lonesome Whistle Album Review"

By Scott Sexton
Country Stars Central Stars– 5
Country/Bluegrass sensations, The Roys are back, with a wonderful new album called, “Lonesome Whistle.” It is a great mixture of several different styles of Bluegrass that will leave every listener begging for more. Although their Country tunes have received countless accolades everywhere, there is something special about this Bluegrass album that is pure, full of talent, and raises the bar to a whole new level. Lee and Elaine Roy are truly masters of their trade and have learned from their heroes what it takes to become the best. Well, after hearing “Lonesome Whistle,” you will see they are two of the best!
Kicking things off with “Coal Minin’ Man,” The Roys pay tribute to coal miners everywhere. This tune really showcases several different aspects and dangers every miner faces. The instruments shine bright with each note. Everything from the mandolin to the banjo proves without a doubt that this is absolute perfection.
With the help of Ricky Skaggs and The Whites, The Roys combine talents with these amazing superstars on “That’s What Makes It Love.” With Lee and Elaine sharing the vocals throughout and Ricky Skaggs taking his turn, The Whites add their harmonies and prove they have gotten better with time. This is another great story song that provides an insight to the key of making relationships work. Simply sit back, close your eyes, and let this picture they have created work its magic!
Kicking things into high gear, “Nothin’ I Can Do About It Now” takes this record to a whole new level. It starts off with a rolling banjo, and it just keeps rolling. The Roys’ harmonies are something to brag about. People often talk about how special siblings are when it comes to harmonies, and these two prove it on every song.
“Right Back At You” slows things down, while “Give A Ride To The Devil” picks things back up. Both of these tunes are great tunes, but once you have heard “Give A Ride To The Devil” you will have heard one of the greatest songs ever! Folks, how many times did you hear growing up that you were on the wrong path? Decisions you have made were leading you down a bad road? Well hearing this showcases every one of them. It is remarkable.
With Elaine taking the lead on “Lonesome Whistle” this track discusses the story of a woman who had to tell her one true love goodbye to go off to war. After waiting for months for him to return, every time she hears the train whistle, it gives her a haunting feeling each time it blows. Without giving away the ending, this is something that many can relate to with the current events going on around the world today.
“Everything I Ever Wanted” and “Oh My How Time Flies” offer great stories, yet “I Wonder What God’s Thinking” will grab you attention like no other. If there was ever a song that could shake you to the core, it would be this one. It shines deep into several situations that we are all guilty of doing or better yet, not doing anything about. Every word packs a punch, which is something many forget to add into their music these days.
Picking things up a bit once again with “Trailblazer,” Elaine brings to light a story about a lady who lets nothing get in her way in order to get where she is going life. Regardless of gender, this tune reflects on everyone who is trying to better themselves and chase their dreams. Some people are satisfied in their lives; however some of us are reaching for the stars at every chance given. Well, if that is you, this song was recorded with “you” in mind.
Bringing this timeless record to an end is perhaps one of the best tracks on the record. It is not a typical song that we are used to hearing on mainstream radio. It is an inspirational song about how taking the “High Road” isn’t always easy and is “the road less traveled,” but it is the right road to take. The Roys are truly a work of art. Every tune on this record will exceed every expectation. There is one horrible thing that needs to be mentioned and that is the record has stopped playing. Time to hit repeat!

Track List:
1. Coal Minin' Man
2. That's What Makes It Love (With Ricky Skaggs & The Whites)
3. Nothin' I Can Do About It Now
4. Right Back At You
5. Give A Ride To The Devil
6. Lonesome Whistle
7.Everything I Ever Wanted
8. Oh My How Time Flies
9. I Wonder What God's Thinking
10. Trailblazer
11. High Road
For more on The Roys, visit their official website:
- Scott Sexton for Country Stars Central

"The Roys - Lonesome Whistle"

The Roys continue their march into the world of modern country with a traditional sound born of bluegrass and Appalachian country/folk on Lonesome Whistle. Led by Lee and Elaine Roy, The Roys use meticulous instrumental work and sublime vocal harmonies to forward songs of love, life and inspiration. 2010 saw The Roys in their national television debut on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. After listening to Lonesome Whistle it’s easy to imagine that appearance to be anything but their last.

Lonesome Whistle opens with "Coal Minin' Man", a generous helping of bluegrass and country that tells the story of a third-generation coal miner and his day-to-day life. Infused with a respect for those who toil away beneath the ground, the song is full of a down-home flavor and buoyed by instrumental work that's nothing short of amazing. Lee Roy takes the lead with his rough hewn but pleasant voice. "That's What Makes It Love" features guest appearances by Ricky Skaggs and The Whites. It's a sweet exposition about what love really is, and is a melodic and rhythmic treat for the ears. Lee Roy's earthy baritone mixes with Elaine Roy's backwoods vocal charms to create a perfect blend.

"Nothin' I Can Do About It Now" explores the emotions of man who has watched his love go off on a train, never to return. Opening with some hot banjo picking, it turns into a delicious bluegrass number that could stand on its own for instrumental work. Lee Roy's voice evokes a loneliness that is beautiful in its loss. "Right Back At You" is a classic-style country number with a kiss-off motif. The song itself is a bit bland, but Elaine Roy's voice saves it and then some. "Give A Ride To The Devil" is a morality tale based on poor choices. In each case someone steps in with guidance to keep the listeners on track. The song is well-written and evocative without crossing the line into preachy.

"Lonesome Whistle" is a masterpiece of songwriting. Told in the third person, the song lays out the story of a woman who sends her soldier off on a train. He came home to buried, but she's still haunted by the whistle of the train that took him away. It's a sad tale, but told in barn-burning fashion in a breakneck bluegrass arrangement that will have you dancing. Elaine Roy takes charge here and reaches the rafters in the process. She sticks around for "Everything I Ever Wanted", a tribute to an adoptive mom and the influence she had on Roy's life. This is a sweet ballad with a classic country sound and a modern pop balladeer sensibility.

Lee Roy steps forward for "My Oh My How Time Flies", a high-speed musical chase with all hands on deck. Banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass and percussion provide the dynamic framework, with violin dancing like a dervish in the seams. "I Wonder What God's Thinking" is a morality ballad contrasting the behavior of the world as a whole with the love of God. It's a pretty acoustic ballad; well-written but perhaps a bit preachy. The song works from a simple moral perspective, but may turn off some listeners. "Trailblazer" is an energetic turn about a young woman embarking on the world at large. The song is tailored with great energy and a positive outlook about the possibilities of a life just beginning to bloom, and features perhaps the best pure pop chorus on the album. Lonesome Whistle winds down with "High Road", a slow ballad about making the right choices in life. Elaine Roy evokes Loretta Lynn here with a sweet vocal that's among her best work.

The Roys turn country-pop on its head on Lonesome Whistle, getting back to the divergent roots of country music while maintaining a distinctive pop sensibility that is welcome in any musical age. As an instrumental unit the band is top notch, able to duke it out with any group working inside or outside of Music Row. The voices of Lee and Elaine Roy work wonderfully well on their own, and even more so when they combine. Lonesome Whistle is bound to be considered among the top bluegrass recordings of 2011, and may even make significant noise on the pop/country charts.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
- Wildy's World

"Lonesome Whistle - The Roys"

The Roys are what John Denver would have sounded like had he gotten really serious about where his music came from and cleaved closer to the country side rather than the folk. Lee Roy has the high mountains voice Denver made so popular, and wife Elaine roams the mid-ground between Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris; thus, the two fit like hand in glove, not so much harmonizing as harmonic in their contrasts—she a bird on the wire, he a river-stream boy from down the lane. Did I mention they're on Rural Rhythms? Yep, they are, and that says a lot too (man, have I ever gotten mushy about RR since I discovered 'em here at FAME—gonna hafta do something 'bout that, got a nasty rep to maintain, dammit!).
That airily aesthetic viewpoint, however, is precisely the frame of mind I advise you approach Lonesome Whistle with, the expectation of high quality, outta the frame, light and sweet as a forest breeze folk/roots music easy on the ears, settling to the mind, and cleverly scribed, with a reminder or two of what happens when you start slipping duty and clear-mindedness for convenience, as in the refrain from Give a Ride to the Devil:
If you start slipping' down that slope
You won't get out alive
If you give a ride to the devil
Someday he's gonna want to drive

Then there's the plenitude of great playing, and cuts like Lonesome Whistle give room for all to trot their chops, Roy a tasty mando player, Elaine the guitarist (along with Cody Kilby), and the rest of the band a lively set of pickers and grinners. Even when laid back, everyone demonstrates consummate perspicacity, every line and every note well considered. Next come hoedowns like My Oh My How the Time Flies, where hair is let down and bootheels start clickin'. Feel free to cut a rug, some linoleum, or even the back yard patio ceeee-ment on these occasions, 'cause it's mighty hard to stay in your seat.
I needn't mention the engineering is perfect (Rural Rhythms, 'member?) but particular attention was paid to the layering necessary to keep the duo's voices up front yet well centered. This makes the more delicate parts of the CD (I Wonder What God's Thinking, etc.) not so much balladic or segues of asides but rather pillows to nestle your head in and dream. And that's exactly what a Lonesome Whistle quite nicely does: provoke memories and dreams, smiles within laments, maybe even hope.
- Mark S. Tucker for FAME Magazine


Our album "Good Days" which was our first release on our own label, Pedestal Records was released on June 10, 2008. Our first single "Workin' Girl Blues" was released in the late summer of 2007 and rose to #35 on the Music Row Chart. The second single "Grandpa's Barn" was released March of 2008 and shot up to #29 on the Music Row Chart.
Our management encouraged us to "go back to our roots" for our next album which drew interest from numerous labels. We eventually released the debut album "Lonesome Whistle" on Rural Rhythm Records. We released our single "Coal Minin' Man" on January 3, 2011 and the video for "Coal Minin Man" premiered on a few days before the release of the full length album. The actual album was released on March 22, 2011 and we could not be happier with how it turned out!! This is The Roys coming back home.



Bluegrass music is a unique art form that is as much about feel and instinct as it is technique. Blending proficiency and passion into a musically intoxicating package, The Roys make their debut with LONESOME WHISTLE ( Rural Rhythm Records) , a spirited set that showcases the siblings’ stellar vocals, taut musicianship and enviable songwriting skills.

“My first real love is bluegrass music,” says Lee. “When I was nine-years-old, I played in my first band and it was a bluegrass band. Ricky Skaggs has always been my hero, and even back in the early days of the Skaggs and Rice records; that’s really where I cut my teeth. As a matter of fact, we were listening to some old stuff we had done and it was amazing to hear Keith Whitley in my voice back then when I was a kid because I was really into those guys.”

With their reverence for legends such as Bill Monroe as well as contemporary torch bearers like Ricky Skaggs, The Roys have crafted a debut set that combines the best of bluegrass music’s traditions with the promise of its future. In recording the album, Lee and his sister Elaine, enlisted Skaggs’ famed band, Kentucky Thunder, and added Steve Brewster on Drums/Percussion and the amazing Randy Kohrs, and even recorded in Skaggs Place Studios. “Being with Ricky’s band was inspiring because those guys are awesome,” Elaine enthuses. “It really makes you want to do better because all of them are amazing musicians as well as amazing people. They love the music and they really put their hearts and souls into it. That’s why we really loved working with those guys.”

“They are literally the masters of their craft,” adds Lee. “Randy Kohrs is playing dobro and Justin Moses is playing the banjo. Those guys live and breathe their instrument. It’s like an extension of their body.”

Lee and Elaine are equally effusive in their praise when talking about bassist Mark Fain, guitarist Cody Kilby and fiddler Andy Leftwich, who co-produced the project with The Roys. Were they at all nervous stepping in to Skaggs’ studio to record their bluegrass debut? “Absolutely,” Elaine confesses. “The first day we walked in there and I started seeing all the pictures of Bill Monroe and Ricky Skaggs and seeing Ricky’s Grammys and all his awards everywhere, I was thinking ‘Oh my gosh! He is really the King of Bluegrass right now and we’re in his studio!’ It was very, very intimidating, but once we got in there and met with the guys and they were excited to be there, we put all that to bed. We thought ‘We’re here to sing and make music. It’s in God’s hands. It’s not even in our hands, so we’re just going to let it happen.’ Once we let it go, the magic happened.”

Recording LONESOME WHISTLE was the culmination of a dream that began for The Roys during childhood. Elaine and Lee were born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and the family later relocated to a small town called Coal Branch in New Brunswick, Canada. Music was always present in their household. “Traditional country music and bluegrass is what we grew up on. That’s all we listened to,” says Elaine. “My grandma LeBlanc played the fiddle. She would play Acadian tunes and my aunts and uncles would sing and play multiple instruments as well. It was very traditional roots music. We fell in love with that and our harmonies seemed to fit that style of music. That’s really what we truly love.”

“At five or six-years-old, I became addicted to music and I just couldn’t get enough of the fiddle,” says Lee. “For me, the fiddle growing up was really THE instrument because it was what my grandma played.”

Elaine learned guitar and Lee picked up drums, bass and mandolin. By the time he was nine, he was performing publicly with a local bluegrass band, singing high tenor and playing mandolin. Elaine began singing at age five, and her first paid gig was at age 10. “I performed at a fair located a couple towns over from where we lived,” she recalls. “One of the people that we knew there knew that I sang and wanted me to sing with them. We worked out five or six songs and I got up there and did my little thing. I remember that as if it was yesterday.”

The siblings continued to hone their skills and became sought after entertainers on the New England circuit before moving to Nashville and launching their own label, Pedestal Records. Since then The Roys have opened for George Jones, The Oak Ridge Boys and Chris Young, among others and have enjoyed such high profile national TV gigs as performing on Jerry Lewis’ annual Labor Day Telethon to benefit Muscular Dystrophy. The duo has performed their amazing version of the National Anthem for the Red Sox at Fenway Park, for President Bush at Andrews Air Force Base and at the Kansas Speedway for the NASCAR Truck Series.

Even as their career has taken off, Lee and Elaine have found time to dedicate to helping those less fortunate. They took part in Montgomery Gentry’s annual Harley Ride in conjunction with the Academy o