The Roys sing “Grandpa’s Barn”
The Roys are a bluegrass and songwriting duo comprised of siblings Lee Roy and Elaine Roy. They were born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts but grew up north of the border in Coal Branch, New Brunswick, Canada, where they were exposed to bluegrass and old-time music.
By the age of nine, Lee found himself playing mandolin in a local bluegrass group. “My first real love is bluegrass music,” Lee recalls. “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.” Elaine learned guitar and began singing at age five, she then made her public singing debut at the age of ten. When they began performing together, however, everything changed.
The Roys developed a sound that fused a multitude of styles such as bluegrass, country, folk, and gospel. They grew as a songwriting team and arranged their music in such a way that it honed in on their striking vocal harmonies.
The duo gained a following by performing on the New England circuit before they moved to Nashville. When they landed in Tennessee, they launched their own label, Pedestal Records. They released two albums, The Roys and Good Days. It wasn’t until 2006 that they then signed with Rural Rhythm Records. Some albums that came from that deal were Lonesome Whistle (2011), New Day Dawning (2012), and Gypsy Runaway Train (2013).
Accolades started rolling in with their wins for Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Duo of the Year in 2009 and 2010. The release of their first Rural Rhythm Records’ (RRR) album, Lonesome Whistle, kicked their career into high gear. The disc debuted at No. 7 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Albums Chart and earned them a spot on Billboard’s Top 50 Bluegrass Albums of 2011 chart. The CD’s success helped land them the award for the ICM Bluegrass Artist of the Year in 2011, as well as a No. 1 single, “Coal Minin’ Man.” In total, The Roys have won five ICMA awards.
Other achievements include their Landmark EP, New Day Dawning, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass Album Chart, reached #1 on Amazon’s Bluegrass Best-Sellers list, and remains on Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine’s Top 15 Albums chart. Other tracks from the EP continue to scale the weekly and monthly Top 20 Bluegrass Today charts. The Roys were named ICM Bluegrass Artist of the Year. Their song, “I Wonder What God’s Thinking,” was named the ICM Inspirational Country Single of the Year in 2012.
The Roys have played some of the top stages in America and have shared the stage with superstars such as George Jones, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, Chris Young, and so many more. They continue to be active in charities both domestically and abroad and served as spokespersons for the annual Christmas 4 Kids® Celebrity Golf Tournament. The Roys also have had appearances on popular television programs such as Fox & Friends, Better TV, Praise the Lord with Jason Crabb, and RFD-TV’s Country Family Reunion: Kinfolk.
In recording their latest albums, Lee and 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 remarks. “It really makes you want to do better because all of them are amazing musicians as well as people. They love the music and they really put their hearts and souls into it. That’s why we really loved working with them.”
More information on the duo, as well as links to their music, can be found on their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/theroysmusic/about/?ref=page_internal.