February 28th sees the release of Dining Room, the new album from t.Roy & The Smoking Section and to guide the keenest curiosity and attention its way they recently unveiled The Texas Grit E.P. The release gathers a selected handful of tracks from the forthcoming full-length, a collection of songs which simultaneously give a fine taste of the band’s eclectic sound and a lusty teaser of the pleasures to be found ahead.
The project is the creation of Asheville NC based singer songwriter t.Roy, an artist who emerged “Out of the swampy woods of Southeast Texas” with The Smoking Section a collective of musicians from around Asheville and beyond. It is an array of talented friends/artists t.Roy has united with to compliment his songwriting and vocal/guitar prowess and in turn bring another richness of craft and enterprise to album and EP. The latter reveals that his sound is a palette of flavours around blues rock inclination; rich seasoning such as Americana, folk, R&B, soul and more besides embraced in its multifaceted adventure.
With pianist/keyboardist Lenny Pettinelli alongside t.Roy in every track within album and EP, the latter opens up with Southeast Texas Son. Straightway the southern drawl of keys cast keen invitation with the sonic flames of t.Roy equally welcoming. There is a celebratory breath to the track which is quickly shared and further emphasized by the rhythms of drummer Josh Courts and bassist Ben Bjorle, while the slide guitar tempting of Scott McGIll aligning with the steel guitar of Ken Bailey and t.Roy’s acoustic guitar craft soon proved eventful captivation.
Color Me Blu is next up, a strolling contemplation of song with a troubadour air to its tale bearing presence and vocal presentation. This time t.Roy and Pettinelli are joined by drummer Juan Miguel Alcantara and Will Franke, the latter bringing far reaching adventure to the Americana cored track with his cello and sitar while next up Chaison Park sees its creator reminiscing with emotive intimacy. It is a poignant slice of songwriting and intimation wrapped in evocative shadows with the gentle rhythms of the returning Courts joined by the similarly potent lures of Sam Barker’s bass.
The excellent Give Me Your Heart follows and immediately it had us hooked with its soulful blaze and a personal angst easy to unite with. Again t.Roy’s tones held court on thoughts just as the trombone of JP Furnas and the organ of Pettinelli weaved inescapable captivation; the rhythms of drummer Simon Madjez and electric guitar lures cast by Tristen Hefner adding a noir lit funkiness to the track’s inner emotional disappointment.
If that song had us richly hooked, the EP’s final track, Some Kind of Secret, simply had ears enslaved. It too bore a dark rock edge to its soul/R&B spun musing and an atypical jazz/art rock prowess coloured by the cello and viola of Franke and t.Roy’s bass. Unpredictable and beguiling, the song was a glorious end to a thick lure to the larger impending outing with t.Roy & The Smoking Section, the SCHAWARMA RECORDS released album sure to see a far larger crowd of anticipation waiting before it thanks to The Texas Grit E.P.
The Texas Grit E.P. is available @ https://t-roythesmokingsection.bandcamp.com/album/the-texas-grit-e-p
Pete RingMaster 15/02/2023
Copyright RingMaster Review
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