After years of hard work, siblings Lee and Elaine Roy have firmly established themselves as one of the pre-eminent acts in Bluegrass today. As THE ROYS they bring immaculate harmonies, impeccable musicianship and strong songwriting to their music, combining a traditional vocal styling with a progressive instrumental attitude to enchant fans around the world. Proud to continue the “family harmony” sound started by such groups as Hall of Fame inductees The Carter Family, The Louvin Brothers and The Osborne Brothers, THE ROYS revel in exploring new facets of the genre while remaining true to their roots.
Born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts and raised across the border in Coal Branch, New Brunswick, Canada, THE ROYS’ early childhood days were filled with music. “Our Grandma LeBlanc played Acadian tunes on her fiddle while my aunts and uncles joined in,” Elaine recalls. “It was truly ‘Roots’ music. We fell in love with that ‘honest’ sound, and our harmonies seemed to fit that style of music,” adds Lee. Growing up in a family where guitar pulls were a normal occurrence, Lee became adept on drums, bass and mandolin and joined his first Bluegrass band at the age of nine. Elaine learned guitar and began singing at age five, making her first on-stage appearance at the tender age of 10.
Though the siblings were keenly aware of each other’s talent, they had no idea that they shared a common hope for the future. “I had always dreamed about going to Nashville,” states Elaine. “I was amazed when I learned my brother shared that vision as well.” For Lee, “It was something that we both wanted – and it just seemed natural to pursue it.”
Since making the decision to move to Nashville six years ago, it’s been one success story after another for the duo. Growing up on traditional Country and Bluegrass music had given them a strong stylistic base, and their sound developed into a blend of Bluegrass, Country, Folk, Roots and Gospel music that resonates with the listener. Songs like the rollicking “Workin’ Girl Blues” and the timeless “Beautiful” earned them a strong following among fans while helping them forge strong bonds with programmers, talent buyers and critics across the country. Phone lines began to light up with requests for their music, and the crowds at their live appearances began to grow.
The 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.”
THE ROYS’ sophomore project for the label, NEW DAY DAWNING, followed in 2012. The landmark EP debuted at #2 on the BILLBOARD Bluegrass Albums Chart, reached #1 on Amazon's Bluegrass Best-Sellers list, and remains on BLUEGRASS UNLIMITED MAGAZINE's Top 15 Albums chart. Additionally, the disc’s first single, “Still Standing,” and other tracks from the EP continue to dominate the weekly and monthly Top 20 BLUEGRASS TODAY charts. In 2012 Lee and Elaine were named ICM Bluegrass Artist of the Year and their song, “I Wonder What God’s Thinking,” was named the ICM Inspirational Country Single of the Year.
Their latest project, GYPSY RUNAWAY TRAIN, keeps the award-winning sibling duo on the fast track. Their third CD for RRR contains six Roys’ originals and some of their all- time favorite Bluegrass and Country classics. Hot vocals, steamin’ pickin’, unbridled enthusiasm and passion make this 13-track wonder a celebration of the Roots genre. The disc vibrates with positive thoughts and up-tempo energy on “You Can Count On My Love,” ”Born With A Hammer In My Hand,” “Ramblin’ Fever” and the title track. A stellar arrangement featuring the siblings’ exquisite harmonies makes “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” a modern classic, while Elaine’s heart-wrenching vocals and moving lyrics offer a poignant look at her divorce on “Half Of Me.” She shines on the Gospel song “He Took Your Place,” a tune that she and Lee have been performing since childhood. The quality and diversity of the music on GYPSY RUNAWAY TRAIN proves the scope of THE ROYS’ talent, and promises a long and fruitful future for the duo.
THE ROYS have played some of the top stages in America and beyond, bringing their unique sound to Dollywood, Country Thunder, Tamworth (Australia), Folk Alliance, CMA Music Festival and countless Bluegrass festivals. This year the siblings will make their European debut with shows in Germany, the U.K. and Denmark. The sought-after duo has performed the National Anthem for fans of NASCAR, NFL and Major League Baseball. They have hosted radio shows as well, including the legendary Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree and 650 AM WSM’s popular Guest Artist Series. THE ROYS’ debut appearance at The Ryman Auditorium’s SPRINGER MOUNTAIN FARMS Bluegrass Nights At The Ryman Series was a rousing success, and they were prominently featured in the PBS television special Pa’s Fiddle: Charles Ingalls, American Fiddler. The duo has hosted seven episodes of the Bluegrass Mountains television show and appeared on such popular television series as Fox & Friends, Better TV, Praise the Lord with Jason Crabb, RFD-TV's Country’s Family Reunion: Kinfolk and most recently, Hallmark Channel’s Marie show. Lee (along with Matthew Rogers) wrote the theme song for the popular RFD-TV program, Campfire Café, and THE ROYS were featured artists in the high-profile 2012 Vietti Vinyl campaign. Lee and Elaine aligned with Team RealTreeTM Outdoor Energy Drink for a strategic partnership that includes 2012-2013 tour sponsorship.
The duo has shared the stage with superstars George Jones, Ricky Skaggs, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Doyle Lawson, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Rhonda Vincent, Chris Young, Sara Evans, J.D. Crowe, The Oak Ridge Boys, Janie Fricke, Dailey & Vincent, Neal McCoy and Collin Raye.
THE ROYS are active in charities here and abroad and return as co-hosts of the annual Christmas 4 Kids® Celebrity Golf Tournament again this year, an honor they shared in 2012 with Tennessee Titans’ placekicker Rob Bironas. In August 2010 the twosome traveled to Bogota, Colombia, South America with Compassion International on a trip that warmed their hearts and touched their lives forever. Since their return, they have sponsored several children through the program. They served as spokespersons for the organization during 2011 and 2012.