THE ROYS – “GYPSY RUNAWAY TRAIN”By William Simpson • Oct 1st, 2013 • Category: CD Reviews
Review by Stratman
The Roys have been one of my favorite duos ever since I reviewed my first CD by them. They started out with and continue to have rich harmonies, wonderfully crafted and well- written songs, and unmatched musicianship. They also have become one of the fastest rising acts in the music business. They have won numerous awards along the way and have performed the National Anthem at sporting events, opened for many famous country acts and even in front of President George W. Bush on his final day in office. See why I like them?
Well, on to their new album, “Gypsy Runaway Train”. The title tells you that the life of a musician is constantly on the road, much like gypsies. This is a happy CD, but also touches on life’s ups and downs. The album is a mixture of new original cuts and some old tried and true standards that their fans have told them that they should record.
The CD opens with “You Can Count on My Love”, a strong, up-tempo bluegrass kicker that helps set the tone of the album. It features Elaine on lead vocals, which she shines on. Great fiddle and banjo. The harmonies rock! “Blue Moon of Kentucky” is as good as it gets. I’m sure that Bill Monroe is smilin’ on this cut. “Another Minute” is a wonderful song. That deals with the loss of a loved one. Lee Roy’s vocals are great as are the harmonies. I like the Dobro and mandolin also.
“Born With A hammer In My Hand” is a bouncy re-make of the hit by Blue Highway. Love the banjo and it’s a toe tapper. Sounds a little like Ricky Skaggs. The track is good and solid. The next tune is “I wonder Where You Are Tonight.” This is another traditional favorite. The mandolin and banjo work really well with the vocals.
Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs made the next tune famous. “He Took Your Place” is a great gospel tune and Elaine does justice to it. Good job. Evokes memories of the Dillard’s or the Darlins as you may know them from the Andy Griffith Show. I miss Earl. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to him when I worked at Gibson USA. The world lost a good man when he passed.
“Workin’ On It” is a song about trying to break bad habits. They still come back occasionally, but the writers keep “workin’ on” trying to break them. Lee Roy does a fine job and the music is tight. Good tune. “Enough For Me” features Elaine and she lets you know that they are very happy and satisfied with their blessings. Too bad more people in the world aren’t like that.
“Ramblin’ Fever” has always been one of my favorite Merle Haggard songs. My current band plays it when we are doing live shows. It always gets the crowd going. The Roy’s do a fine job on it. The music is perfect. “What Gives You The Right” shows off the vocal harmonies as well as the group’s musicianship. The tune has been a fan favorite and I can see why.
“Those Memories of You” is another bluegrass favorite. Great banjo pickin’ and vocals. Sounds a little like Dolly Parton. The fiddle works well in the break. “Half of Me” was written by Elaine after her divorce. She admits she may not be able to play it live due to her emotions, but she does a slam up job on the studio version. Love the dobro performed by Randy Kohrs.
That brings me to the last track “Gypsy Runaway Train” which Lee co- wrote with Morry Trent. It is what a touring musician’s life is all about making stop after stop in town after town. The music sounds kind of like a train thanks to the drumbeat. All the music works well together. Great way to end the CD.
This is a must have CD for all bluegrass fans. Great songs, vocals, musicians, production, and recording. It is just a wonderful album. So, get of your couch and go git you one. NOW!!