Country4you’s exclusive interview with The Roys

Denne artikkelen er over ett år gammel, og kan inneholde utdatert informasjon.

Multi award-winning bluegrass duo The Roys are set to release a new, their third, album, “Gypsy Runaway Train”, and will be touring Europe next week. Making several stops in Denmark, Germany and England. The siblings, who have performed with artists like Ricky Skaggs, George Jones, Alan Jackson and Blake Shelton, shared their excitement in this exclusive interview.

For those of us that don’t know you yet and haven’t heard your music. Could you please describe who you are, how you got started and the music that you play?

Elaine: We’re brother and sister and were born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Our parents are French Canadian and they decided to move back to Canada after they had the two of us. We grew up in Coal Branch, New Brunswick, where our mom was born. Music came into our lives the moment we moved there. Our grandma LeBlanc, my mom’s mother, played the fiddle and cousins, uncles and aunts played guitar and sang, others played mandolin or banjo’s and granddad would stepdance. They loved country music and bluegrass music. From as young as 5 years old I was dreaming about moving to Nashville and little did I know Lee had the same dream so we started to play together. And I can’t get rid of him, he’s with me forever now. But seriously, it’s been in our heart and soul forever and it’s our calling in life.

Lee Roy
Lee Roy

You were brought up surrounded by music and it seems everyone played. Lee, do you do the same with your kids?

Lee: You know, if they want to pursue music I’ll support them. That’s one thing with our mom and dad, they never pushed us into playing music. There were times growing up where I would go a year without picking up a guitar and then I would go a year where I couldn’t put it down. They never said: “why don’t you play anymore or why don’t you sing anymore”. They let me, and Elaine, have our childhood and let us do whatever we wanted to do, knowing that if it was our true calling we would come back to it. If that’s what we wanted to do they would support us and that’s what I plan to do with my kids.

Your new album, “Gypsy Runaway Train”, will be released June 4th. Can you tell us about the album?

Elaine: This album is a little different. We have 13 tracks, 6 that are original song that we’ve written and the other 7 are cover songs that we’ve done throughout our whole life. Songs that we fell in love with way back when and we still sing them today. We put our own little twist on them and hopefully they’ll be excepted as maybe new traditionals. This album is just a mixture of our past and our future, I think.

Lee: What I love about this album, more so then any other record we’ve done, this is a 100% true representation of who we are live because we used our band on 7 tracks. It’s more organic and more raw then just a collection of great musicians that do this every day with a nice clean polished sound. By using our own band you’ll get a true representation of what you’ll get live. I’m ecstatic and very excited about this record.

You chose to cover several classics, like Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and Merle Haggard’s “Ramblin’ Fever”.  What made you choose these specific songs?

Elaine: After playing these songs live people would come to our merchandise table and ask if they could buy these songs on an album. That kept on happening with the same songs and we thought: “well, the next album we should incorporate some of these songs”. Still keep our originals, because that’s how we grow as artists, that’s how you become an artist by writing your own music, but also to represent our past and where we come from. So it’s certain songs that we could tell by the reaction of the crowd that they really liked them and they always asked for them. They made the top of the list and made this album.

The album was recorded during a tough and emotional time for both of you. Are you able to escape through your music?

Lee: Yes, absolutely. Take “Over You” by Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert for example. When you hear the story of why that song was written and undoubtedly why it’s a hit. I think that people are drawn to songs that tug at their heartstrings. Songs that really mean something to them. A listener can put themselves in a song. We’ve all lost someone we love and we’ve all gone through hardship and I think that when you write certain songs that are about that, they may not reflect exactly who you are but we can all go; “I never looked at it that way when I lost my uncle or when I lost my father”.

There are two songs in particular on the album that are very near and dear to us, “Another Minute” for me and “Half of Me” for Elaine, and they’re also healing for us. As artists, we live that moment through these songs and you find comfort and healing in what you’re writing. I think those two songs will do really well. I really don’t care if they ever become number 1, I just hope that they bring hope and inspiration to people.

Does being a performer influence your songwriting?

Elaine Roy
Elaine Roy

Elaine: Yeah, I think so. When you’re out there and you meet the fans and talk to them they might say something that gives you an idea. It’s so inspirational to see how they light up when we play one of our songs like “Trailblazer”. One time I had a lady coming up saying that song had really touched her life. She decided to go back to school because of it. When you get that kind of feedback from the fans it just fuels the creativity inside of you. For me anyways, it really excites me. That is why we do what we do. It’s such hard work but when you’re on that stage and you get your hour to entertain those folks, and you get that feedback from them, there’s just no dollar amount you can put on that. It’s magic, it really is magic.

You’re about to make your European debut a little over a week, which includes two dates in Denmark. How exciting!

Elaine: I’m excited and nervous. Because you don’t know how the audience is going to react. We hope that they love what we do but we’re just going to be ourselves and hopefully they love what we do and invite us back because we’re psyched to go. I’m so excited.

Lee: We’ve been to Australia, Canada and played here in the US but we’ve never brought our music to any part of Europe so we’re very excited.

What can the audience expect?

Lee: They can expect the same thing as our American fans. We love what we do on stage and we have three guys with us that love what they do. Everything what we do culminates to one moment; being on stage. That’s where we lay out who we are. We’re very excited and not worried about the language barrier at all. Music is our universal language. And at the end of they day they will see that we love what we do. We will poor our heart and soul into the shows and hope the Europeans will enjoy it.

Will you be playing songs from the new album as well?

Lee: Yes we will. Of course we’ll play all 7 covers as we’ve been playing those for years. And of the 6 new songs there are 3 or 4 that we’ve been playing live. We’ll definitely play stuff of the new album as well as from our other two albums, “Lonesome Whistle” and “New Day Dawning”. The amount of time will dictate what we do but as long as they’ll let us play we’ll keep playing. So we’ll give them a good sprinkle of all three records.

Can you already reveal what the next single is going to be?

Elaine: It’s “Gypsy Runaway Train”. We’ll be recording the video right when we get back from Europe.

Lee: The very next run that we go on goes through Washington D.C. , North Carolina, Massachusetts and Canada. The videographer is coming out with us and we’re doing a bunch of footage from the road because the song is about paying tribute to the fans. So it’s will be all about the fans. Our thank you to them.

Because we don’t have CMT or anything like that; European fan stay up to date through social media. How has social media influenced your careers?

Elaine: For us it has been unbelievable. We get emails and facebook messages from all over the world. And I think to myself: “How in the world do these people even know who we are?!” It’s so amazing! We have one that said: “I’ll be seeing you in London, I’m so excited” and I’m thinking: “Really?!” To me it’s amazing that we can reach so many people. When you stop and think about it, it’s mind blowing to know that you’re music can go out to places that you never otherwise would.

Lee: Social media today is like having the big label machine behind you. Not that long ago artists had to depend on the radio promotion staff, the marketing staff, the label staff….now an artist can go online and create a facebook and twitter account and get the word out that way. 1 person talks to 2, 2 talk to 4 and the ripple effect starts and next thing you know you have a whole network of people. It’s really amazing and it’s the lifeblood of artists like us.

Do you manage your facebook and twitter accounts yourself?

Elaine: Yes it’s us.

Lee: I’m extremely active with both websites.

Elaine: Our website media people will also post press releases and upcoming tour dates but when it comes to facebook and twitter it’s all us.

We were able to read that you, Lee, went through surgery last week. Happy to see you’re doing well. And you also uploaded a video of opening the box that contained your new mandola. Fans love seeing that.

Lee: Someone that told me one day: “Remember this, fans want to know what you’re doing off the stage”. Because they already know what you do on the stage. It’s documented, they see you, they’ve been to your shows, they’ve seen the videos. It amazes me that a picture of me walking my dog gets 75.000 views! But that’s what people really want. They want to know more about you. It’s amazing what social media does these days.

Elaine: I am so boring. What would they want to know about me?!
[sws_blue_box box_size=»600″]Well Elaine, as a music fan I can tell you this. It’s all about knowing you guys are just normal people. And talking to you, for me, confirmed that.
Marloes Lucy Duizer [/sws_blue_box]

The Roys «Trailblazer»:

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