Roy Sanders is a Texas-based fingerstyle guitarist drawing on a lifetime of influences from many acoustic music genres — mostly country, mountain folk and Bluegrass.
Though primarily an instrumentalist (with more than 30 original songs composed), he is also a singer-songwriter with four recorded CD’s of original music.
“Poor Farm Road,” released in April 2010, includes a blend of country and mountain folk styles, with all original music. It features Roy on guitar, banjitar (six string banjo, also known as banjo-guitar) and vocals.
“Smokey Row — The Adventures of John McDougald” (November 2011) is a concept album about Texas’ evolution from a rural to a more urban state, spanning the last century. Set in rural Burleson County, the liner notes share a ficticious story of a man in the early 20th Century facing a move away from the family farm to an urban area, seeking a new opportunity. Uniquely, the album is mostly instrumental, with short singing verses connecting each instrumental and telling the story of McDougald, a man torn between the rural life he cherishes and hard choices that will forever change his life. In the end, even today’s urban Texans still gravitate to the country, even if just for the weekend, hanging on to to something Texans never quite let go of.
As a member of the duo Yellow Prairie, Sanders is also featured in the January 2014 CD “Come on and Dance,” with Don Ling on the dobro. The CD is their tribute to Texas dance halls. Again, the CD features all original music written by Sanders, with an acoustic guitar and dobro. The music is throwback sound, reflecting on how a rural barn dance would have sounded about 100 years ago.
Scheduled for release in 2015 is “No Pick, Just Fingers,” an all instrumental guitar CD with songs written and performed by Roy.
The CD’s are available at Roy’s live, solo instrumental performances, primarily at restaurants and bars in the Bryan-College Station area, and in Yellow Prairie appearances with Ling at area festivals, Opry’s and house concerts.
Check out this Web site (below) and Roy’s Facebook page beginning in April for updates on his live appearances scheduled for 2015 and for live shows by Yellow Prairie.
Also check out the link on this web site for You Tube performances by Roy as a soloist and with Yellow Prairie.
Roy’s guitar influences span a century from Sam and Kirk McGee, among the first stars of the WSM Barn Dance, later known as the Grand Old Opry, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Etta Baker, Hobart Smith, Mance Liscomb, Toy Caldwell of the Marshall Tucker Band and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac.
Roy strives to create a rural, rustic sound with melodic arrangements, similar to the rural “songsters” in small towns and villages across the U.S. maybe 100 years ago. Barn dances, parlor music, church and family gatherings all included someone locally who could play. These musical traditions were passed down through generations, with each artist developing his or her own unique style.
Roy is also his family’s unofficial historian, drawing on centuries of storytelling handed down to him from relatives. As one of the keepers of his families’ geneology, oral history and ancient photographs, Roy has drawn on these stories and histories for musical inspiration. Many family members, particularly on his mother’s side, played string music for generations.
Roy’s mother’s family came from Celtic traditions in southern Scotland and Northern Ireland, eventually settling in the mid-19th Century in Alabama before moving to modern day Texarkana, Texas in 1900. His father’s family, also from Celtic traditions in England and Southern Scotland, originated in Virginia and North Carolina, later moving to northern Alabama, southern Missouri, northwest Arkansas, and later to the American Midwest in western Kansas and eastern Colorado. Today the families are scattered throughout Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. With such a broad swath of history and traditions, he never runs out of inspiration for new music — created in a cherished, ancient style.