Elaine and Lee Roy, a Massachusetts-born and New Brunswick, Canada-raised brother/sister duo, make some fine, if unremarkable harmonies. For whatever reason, their voices are a little bit subdued and understated in the mix on this otherwise very impressive song collection, which was produced by the eminently talented Andy Leftwich, who also plays mandolin and fiddle throughout.
The Roys, together and separately, are formidable songwriters. With the assistance of various co-writers, they composed all seven of the powerful songs on this rather slender collection. “Daddy To Me” (penned by Lee Roy and Brandon Rickman) is, for instance, a lovely, sad story-song with a moving narrative that takes its own sweet time unwinding. It’s hard to imagine a more heartfelt remembrance of a dearly departed parent. Ditto for “Grandpa’s Barn,” which was co-written by Lee Roy and Larry Alderman and is tribute to Lee’s grandfather.
The title cut and opening track, co-written by Elaine and Lee along with Steve Dean, is a moving inspirational about keeping your eye on the proverbial sparrow through long strings of gray days, disappointments, and setbacks. “Windin’ Roads” (Lee Roy, Mark Houser, and Jay Brunswick) is another jewel. It’s the nostalgia-tinged story of a man who yearns to return to the grace and simplicity of the little hometown he was so eager to escape as a boy. This track, like nearly every other song on New Day Dawning, rings as true and honest as the day is long. (Rural Rhythm, P.O. Box 750, Mt. Juliet, TN 37121, www.ruralrhythm.com.)BA