The Little Roy and Lizzy Show's latest release, Going Home, does exactly as its title suggests. This duo of accomplished bluegrass musicians plops you in the back of a beat-up truck and drives you out of the bustling city into the quiet countryside. They bring you to a small town filled with smiling faces and Southern hospitality. They show you the old church building that still contains a real bell and carry you further down the dusty road to the family home where they spend the lazy afternoon sitting on the porch and regaling you with stories from their childhood. The cynic in you might be tempted to think it's just a dream; that places like this don't really exist. But even if it is a dream, it's a pleasant one.
The album opens with the title track, a somewhat midtempo bluegrass tune that bemoans leaving home "in pursuit of life, to see what I could find" and realizing that home is a much better place. Most of the album then drifts back into reverie about the peace of home and country living. Though "Going Home" is a surprising opening for a bluegrass album, the other songs pick up the pace and give you what you would expect from the genre.
Going Home is at its weakest when it pays tribute to some of the tropes of bluegrass music. "Feels Like Rain" and "When I Stop Dreaming" are the token songs of a relationship breaking up, though they avoid clichés and are more creative than some of their counterparts. "Today Is Gonna Be A Brighter Day" and "In A Whirlwind" fall into the camp of taking liberties with Biblical application. The former puts too much focus on "power of positive thinking" fare while the latter over-personalizes the story of Elijah.
But these songs shine brightest when keeping in line with the theme of the opening track as they remember "the good ol' days" and the joys of country community. "Coffee In The Morning" and "Free, Free" are delightful tracks that bask in the routine and adventures of home life. "The Church Bell" and "Dinner On The Ground" (which features a fine cameo by the Oak Ridge Boys) consider the important role of the church in the community and "That's The Power In The Blood" highlights the efficacy of the gospel in an individual's life. By the time the album closes with "Traveling On," the focus has shifted from an earthly home to a heavenly one.
Of course, what distinguishes bluegrass from other genres is its flavor of music and there is plenty of blistering musicianship at work here. Lizzy Long's rich Southern voice is complemented by Roy Lewis' banjo playing and the rest of the band. This is pure bluegrass of a high degree among the music, lyrics, and theme. If you're not a fan of the genre, The Little Roy and Lizzy Show will probably not change your mind. But if you do enjoy bluegrass music, or are open to trying something new, Going Home makes for a delightful listen. Though not normally a bluegrass fan, I enjoyed the charming ride into the country and the nostalgic show. Hop aboard for yourself and you may be swept up into the pleasant dream of simpler times and simpler living.
- Review date: 5/1/17, written by John Underdown of Jesusfreakhideout.com