As t.Roy releases ‘The Texas Grit EP’ – the perfectly titled, power packed teaser for a 16 track album - under the moniker t.Roy & The Smoking Section, the veteran singer/songwriter declares that he’s just “another Texas blues singer from Southeast Texas,” following in the long tradition of regional legends like Johnny & Edgar Winter, Janis Joplin, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and George Jones. 

t.Roy’s connection to those roots drives the main narrative, yet it leaves out a fascinating aspect of his multi-faceted career. He’s been “hiding” in another genre, touring the world as an international recording artist writing and performing sacred music for decades, often living on the road 300 days of a year. 

t.Roy’s musical origins are key to vibing with the raw, no holds barred authenticity of the dynamic five track EP recently released.   On both sides of his family, every gathering was a hoe-down jam session, and when he was only four years old his grandfather brought him on a “tour” of the neighborhood, knocking on doors to sing Hank Williams classics. 

t.Roy began playing six nights a week at the Foxy Lady Bar in Beaumont TX with a parental release before he was legally old enough to enter.  He later moved to northward and became a staple of the Dallas rock scene for many years, producing a cable access TV program for 9 years called “Dallas Music Magazine” as his band was nominated as “Best Rock Band” by the Dallas Observer, and he wrote the theme song for the 1988 Texas Rangers. 

In 2002, he signed to Sony/BMG/Provident label, Galilee of the Nations, and began touring the world non-stop for nearly two decades performing original songs in an obscure middle eastern sub-genre of sacred music. 

Wanting a change of scenery for inspiration in 2017, t.Roy moved to Asheville, NC and began going out to jam sessions for the pure fun of it in this dynamic music city. It was there he discovered his love of audio production and started recording with his new Asheville NC friends and  “The Smoking Section” was born. In the small dining area of his west Asheville apartment this band recorded 32 songs to be released in stages during 2023. 

The songs on The Texas Grit EP serve as something of an introductory autobiography to t.Roy. The raucous opener “Southeast Texas Son,” featuring Beaumont area legendary guitarist Scott McGill, and takes a whimsical, nostalgic look at his youth “having fun just playing out in the hot Texas sun.” The hard-driving jam “Color Me Blu” tells the spirited story of a metalhead friend who made guitars and always wore the color blue. The poignant ballad “Chaison Park” recalls a painful childhood memory of abandonment. Though brassy and up-tempo, “Give Me Your Heart” tackles the heartbreak of unreciprocated love. The powerhouse final track “Some Kind of Secret” is a classic tale, told in vulnerable detail, of suspecting that a spouse is having an affair. 

“Songwriting has always been a healing mentally therapy for me,” t.Roy says. “Most of these songs are very personal stories about relationships, and unfortunately for me they are true. Some were written long ago but never previously recorded, while others are about more recent situations. I taught myself audio engineering these past few years, and got these great musicians to help me put the songs into fixed form – and now I’m excited about the next steps.”

From Sweden

StereoStickman review

Turn this one up loud – t.Roy & the Smoking Section capture the mood beautifully, for the aptly-Americana-soaked anthem Southeast Texas Son.

Good vibes in strong supply meet with gorgeously expressive, soulful rock vocals, and an organic and tight-knit musicality that promises a full-band embrace as close to the live sound as possible.

Standing tall on the strength of its timeless style, faultless musicianship and indeed the crisp, clean nature of the recording, Southeast Texas Son also shines light on a clear songwriting ability that naturally connects.

The song has a familiar set-up, short lines and a catchy hook, all of which is delivered with precision and passion combined. What keeps things fresh, however, is that essential vocal lead, the fullness of the arrangement, and indeed certain inflections and details within the story; its associated reflections on life and the journey so far.

Though a notably personal anthem, Southeast Texas Son ultimately prompts appreciation for one’s roots – a nostalgic trip down memory lane that’s both comforting and likely to impart a level of gratitude and self-belief.

From the uk

"Texas Grit" EP review

As the EP opens with “Southeast Texas Son” we immediately hear the power of musical collaboration as the talent of the group shows off. Some epic piano by Leonid Pettinelski (AKA Lenny Pettinelli) takes us to the party with a smile.

The Dark Blues comes in on “Color Me Blu” as the focus shifts to the vocal styling of t.Roy backed by a full sound that keeps us all in place. The unique beat grabs attention and fills every corner of the speakers. Some elegant piano is added to the style on “Chaison Park” as the lyrics turn back to early childhood memories of a different time. The groove here is extraordinary as it pairs with an almost Jazz lounge style. A truly unique combination that combines sounds perfectly.

A big beat and spacy sounds come in for the closer “Some Kind Of Secret.” The vibe stays slightly dark but the drums power this one along with an energetic pounding. An assortment of special keyboard sounds keeps us guessing where the Secret will take us. Adding the element of experimental sound keeps this album a testament to the power of music. There does not need to be any specific box to stay in to create something truly great.

Review: t.Roy & The Smoking Section - Texas Grit

Nanobot rock

FEBRUARY 23, 2023

To its namesake, the five-track EP The Texas Grit, immediately embodies strength of character for t.Roy & The Smoking Section, especially Lenny Pettinelli on piano who remains a strong and enjoyable presence throughout.

The Texas Grit EP is undeniably one part Texas, one part travelled musician. There is no cliché in this EP. It is pure Southeast Texas music that lives deep in talented musicians that play from the heart and soul, and not always the Lone Star State.