Since their 2011 recording debut this brother-sister duo has captured the hearts and minds of bluegrass fans while scoring a slew of awards and chart-topping bluegrass hits along the way.
On The View, Lee’s and Elaine’s fourth album, they have really taken some bold steps in terms of seizing the reins of their musical direction. They not only produced the album, but also wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs in collaboration with a handful of additional co-writers, including Grand Ole Opry legend Bill Anderson, who co-wrote the lovely title tune with the Roys. The results of their latest move toward creative autonomy are little short of superb. Vocally, Elaine and Lee shine, both together on harmonies and separately as lead singers.
Lee has never sounded better or more inspired than on “Those Boots,” his salute to all those who have served in our Armed Forces, which he co-wrote with Jenee Fleenor. He hits similar emotional paydirt on “Black Gold,” a stirring coal mining ballad he co-wrote with Clint White and Daniel Patrick.
Elaine sounds every bit as sublime on the painfully nostalgic title tune and on the wistful “Sometimes” (co-written by the Roys and Steve Dean). She also knocks the proverbial ball out of the park on “No More Lonely” and “No More Tears Left To Cry,” a pair of heartfelt romantic songs, both co-written by Lee, Elaine, and Dean). And an added treat is the free-wheeling “Mandolin Man” (co-written by Lee and Larry Alderman). This stirring tribute to Bill Monroe features Doyle Lawson on mandolin and vocals. (Rural Rhythm, P.O. Box 750, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122, www.ruralrhythm.com.)BA