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 seven 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 landed on BLUEGRASS UNLIMITED MAGAZINE's Top 15 Albums chart. Additionally, the disc’s first single, “Still Standing,” and other tracks from the EP continually dominated the weekly and monthly Top 20 BLUEGRASS TODAY charts. Additionally, 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.
Keeping the award-winning sibling duo on the fast track, THE ROYS released GYPSY RUNAWAY TRAIN in 2013, their third CD for RRR containing six Roys’ originals and some of their all-time favorite Bluegrass and Country classics. The album earned a Top 5 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart and hit #1 on Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction’s Most-Played Albums chart (Oct. 2013), with the “hot and active” track: “Those Memories Of You” landing at #5 on Sirius XM Radio Bluegrass Junction’s Most-Played Tracks
2013 also found THE ROYS performing at the official unveiling of the Johnny Cash US Postage Stamp, the well-regarded Country Thunder Wisconsin festival and at the historic and highly-publicized “Playin’ Possum: George Jones’ Final No Show” Tribute Concert. They were also invited to make their debut appearance on the Grand Ole’ Opry, realizing one of the duo’s major “life/career goals” and achieving what only a handful of Bluegrass acts have accomplished.
2014 found THE ROYS aboard the Inaugural Country Music Cruise, winning the hearts of traditional Country Music fans and earning a coveted performance spot aboard the 2015 cruise. They were also named the #1 Bluegrass Artist of the 2014 International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA) and were a featured act at the Folk Alliance International.
Throughout the years, 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. Last year, the siblings made 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, Hallmark Channel’s Marie show and most recently, Country’s Family Reunion: Simply Bluegrass. Lee (along with Matthew Rogers) wrote the theme song for the popular RFD-TV program, Campfire Café. THE ROYS were featured artists in the high-profile 2012 Vietti vinyl campaign. Lee and Elaine aligned with Team RealTree™ Outdoor Energy Drink for sponsorship of their 2012-2013 tour.
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.