An instantly memorable disc, The Roys' Bluegrass Kinda Christmas is the brother / sister act's latest, following hot on the heels of The View (here), which maintained their enviable string of successes. There are a lot of upbeat ditties here, well rendered, but, for me, the most interesting is the cover of Merle Haggard's If We Make It Through December, a song so pertinent to the times that it's almost painfully poignant. However, the up-n-dancin' nature of the mainstay of the ten cuts, including the Roys' own title cut, is a celebration of good times, childhood memories, family warmth, and maybe just a hint of how cold winter nights are made enjoyable after a cup of eggnog with a little somethin' added in. That's the feeling I get anyway.
There's a New Kid in Town, though, is also a pensive ditty, what I s'pose we might call 'country blues gospel', and not at all kindred to the Eagles' similarly named song. It's exceedingly attractive, an unusual blend of reverent elder regard blended with a gently irreverent Humanist flavor, a take on the event in Bethlehem that wrought the holiday. Similarly, Oh Holy Night is a beautiful version of the classic, with Elaine as sonorous as ever she's been and a middle eight passage that'll take your breath away, Clint White's fiddle an achingly wistful Richard Greene-ish wonder. Despite all the festivity elsewhere in the release, this is the CD's pinnacle, Elaine the centerpoint.
I wouldn't say Bluegrass Kinda Christmas is for the kids, though. It's decidedly adult, a number of thematics much more geared to the grittier side of things, and thus nicely keeps a balance between hallowed fantasies—I mean, when ya think about it, Santa Claus outdoes Superman!; whatever kind of Geritol the guy's taking, I want some!—and sober pensivities upon what the Christos was sent to resolve before His untimely crucifixion. Then, as I've noted, it's jes' plain more Roys music, and that's more than enough to excite interest near and far, regardless of the occasion.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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