The brother/sister bluegrass act The Roys has become a standard within the modern bluegrass milieu enshrining and augmenting the sterling efforts of Audie Blaylock, Bill Emerson, Ernie Thacker, and a double handful of others in a sonic museum composed simultaneously of fidelity and innovation. With their latest, Gypsy Runaway Train, the duo only deepens longstanding flawless writing and playing assets, backed as always by solid sessioneers. Gypsy, though, departs from the last couple releases in that its emphasis is less on the act's original materials and much more on some great classics, waking the listener in the morning for chores, dancing as the moon climbs into the sky, but settling down late into the evening when a tear is choked back, reminiscing on lost romance, departed loved ones, and the travails of the world.
In fact, Lee Roy lost a beloved father-in-law, and sister Elaine went through a painful divorce, so they're not exactly strangers to the wounds of the flesh, chronicled in Another Minute, Half of Me, and elsewhere, but neither do they dwell on such things beyond giving them their rightful due, moving on to the living and the here and now. Lee, in I'm Working on It notes wryly that "If I wrote a book on love / It'd be one chapter long" and when the pair cover Haggard's Ramblin' Fever, I'll be damned if my own blood doesn't start rising as I look to the horizon and wonder what's just over the mountains.
In fact, that cut kinda serves as an ironic mid-ground between everything covered in this disc. Existentially, Gypsy embodies the fickle nature of man in the temporal realm, a creature caught between impulse, mindfulness, and circumstance, never quite sure what the hell is what but forging on nonetheless because…well, what else is there? We have what we have, we do what we do, and if we're lucky, at the end of the day or the month or the year, we have more happiness than grief. No guarantees, though, and thus we glance back upon our minutes and hours, count our blessings, square our shoulders, and move forward. There's a lot of that here.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles