AFTER “HIDING” FOR YEARS IN ANOTHER GENRE,
SOUTHEAST TEXAS BLUES/ROCK SINGER/SONGWRITER t.Roy RETURNS HOME TO HIS ROOTS,
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.”