All About Town

The V-Roys

E-Squared Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


These days, I've been finding myself comparing quite a few groups' sounds to that of country-rockers The Bottle Rockets. While it might not be fair to any of the groups to make such a comparison, it is meant often as words of high praise. The merging of the two styles of music, even throwing touches of folk or even bluegrass into the mix, seems to create its own unique monster - and one whose sound is infectious.

The V-Roys, a group who cut their teeth behind Steve Earle, is one such band. Their recent release my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 All About Town is, quite simply, a damned great disc thst you'd be a fool not to pick up.

The band - vocalist/guitarist Scott Miller, vocalist/guitarist Mic Harrison, bassist/pianist Paxton Sellers and drummer Jeff Bills - plow through twelve cuts that run the gamut from skating-on-the-line alternative to down-home country, all the while making the transitions seamless. That is something that takes a lot of skill, and The V-Roys have it.

With a generous supply of guest musicians - including Earle himself - the band gets things rolling quickly with "The Window Song," a number that, if life were fair, would be getting loads of airplay on cutting-edge radio stations (you listening, WXRT-FM?). When The V-Roys have a unique rock flavor to their music - "The Window Song", "Amy 88" - one could easily see them continuing in that direction, and having great success with it.

But their style of music just doesn't allow them to pigeonhole themselves in one particular genre (similar to The Jayhawks), and they cross the line between rock and country ("Miss Operator", "Arianne", "Mary") flawlessly. Even the folk sounds of "Virginia Way" melting into the all-out bluegrass stomp of "Shenandoah Breakdown" is as natural as watching a spring rain fall. (And, if you didn't get enough of the bluegrass, "Shenandoah Breakdown" is tacked on as an uncredited reprise after "Fade Away".)

Complaints? Well, there's only one - this disc clocks in at just over 36 minutes. And while the songs on this disc are above reproach, there could have been more of them. I mean, just when you're really getting sucked into the vortex - blam! - the CD ends. Sure, it leaves you wanting more, but it's almost not fair to leave your mouth watering like that.

The V-Roys are a band who are destined for greatness, even if the fickle record-buying public doesn't latch onto their particular type of music as the next commercial trend. Even so, All About Town is an early sign of things to come, and is a remarkable disc.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of E-Squared Records, and is used for informational purposes only.