The brother-sister bluegrass duo The Roys are heading this way promoting their new CD Gypsy Runaway Train after being fresh off their first European tour.
Elaine and Lee Roy will perform with their band at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at Washington County High School, 420 Riddleville Road, in Sandersville, Ga., just west of Louisville.
Tickets are $20 for the event presented by the Washington County Concert Association. Call Scott Ahrens (478-240-9732) or Allen Hodges (478-552-6920).
On their new Rural Rhythm Records CD, Lee Roy sings, “Our jobs ain’t done if you ain’t wanting more” in the title song, Gypsy Runaway Train, co-written by Roy and Morry Trent.
Apparently, Lee and his sister and their band left their audiences in Germany, England and Denmark last spring wanting more. They were performing in Australia last year.
“Our shows went wonderful,” Elaine said in a call Monday just before the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass Conference and Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh, N.C.
“You don’t know when you go to a new place and a new country if they will like what you do,” she added, “but the audiences were so warm-hearted and were so appreciative of what we did. We loved it, loved it, loved it.”
There have been many duo acts in bluegrass music like The Osborne Brothers, Jim & Jesse McReynolds, The Stanley Brothers (Ralph and Carter) and many sibling groups like The Lewis Family and The Sullivan Family, but it is very rare to see just a brother-and-sister duo in bluegrass music.
Elaine and Lee moved to Nashville seven years ago. They had been born to French Canadian parents in Fitchburg, Mass., and grew up in Coal Branch, New Brunswick, Canada.
Their mother’s side of the family was full of musicians, and picking and singing happened a lot at their house. Their dad loved playing records and going to concerts.
Lee vaguely recalls that his first star concert was probably seeing George Jones, Conway Twitty or Ronnie Milsap.
Elaine said of her first star concert, “I’m sure it was the same thing. Wherever Lee was, I was there too, especially wherever Mom and Dad took us. I remember at 5 years old wanting to be a singer. Music was always part of our daily lives. I knew from an early age what our calling was.”
Although their dad didn’t play any musical instruments, he still bought a Gibson guitar and would have musician friends and relatives play it when they came to visit.
The Roys’ new CD reflects their love of traditional music with original songs by Elaine and Lee Roy and others and with their cover versions of Johnny Bond’s I Wonder Where You Are Tonight, Bill Monroe’s Blue Moon of Kentucky, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs’ He Took Your Place and Merle Haggard’s Ramblin’ Fever.
“We’re not 100 percent bluegrass, and we’re not 100 percent country,” Lee said. “The biggest advice we were given several times in trying to find a label was, ‘Make sure your music is never compromised for anybody.’ We turned down some record deals, but, if we can’t look in the mirror and enjoy who we are then we need to get out of the music business.”
HEPHZIBAH (GA.) OPRY: 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, Nashville hit songwriters Steve Dean, Lisa Shaffer and Bill Whyte, Masonic Lodge building at 4391 Saxon Drive. Admission is free with a love offering taken. Fried-fish dinners at $10 each are available beginning at 5:30 p.m.
CRAIG MORGAN CONCERT: Country star Craig Morgan with opening acts Delta Cane, County Line and Daniel Johnson bands; 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26; Lady Antebellum Pavilion, 7016 Evans (Ga.) Towne Center Boulevard; $20 advance at various locations – see www.ladyaevans.com – or $30 at the gate; (706) 830-0677.
UPCOMING OCTOBER SHOWS: Grascals, Tuesday, Oct. 10, Newberry (S.C.) Opera House and Friday, Oct. 18, Imperial Theatre; Brenda Lee, Sunday, Oct. 13, Newberry Opera House; Jefferson Ross, Saturday, Oct. 19, M.A.D. Studios, 307½ 11th St. (upstairs); Robert Earl Keen, Saturday, Oct. 19, Newberry Opera House and Saturday, Oct. 26, Imperial Theatre; Sawyer Brown, Friday, Oct. 25, Newberry Opera House.