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 sister 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
Then there's the plenitude of great playing, and cuts like Lonesome Whistle give room for all to trot their chops, Andy Leftwich, a tasty mando player, Cody Kilby the guitarist, 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.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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