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.
Listen: "Coal Minin' Man"
Lyrics: "Coal Minin' Man"