“More than music...Kevin Roy is Cosmic Canadiana Personified; a wanderlust storyteller sharing his travelogue through songs and photos”
Roy, a wilderness loving troubadour from Winnipeg, Manitoba, delivers poignant folk ballads with the right balance of aw-shucks honesty and
unbridled enthusiasm. His music embraces the fragility of ditch-trilogy era Neil Young, with the hook-driven choruses and sparkle of The Beatles Abbey Road. As a photographer, he captures breathtaking landscapes and behind-the-scenes shots from the road, connecting himself his audience with the places and lifestyle that feeds his musical inspiration.
Working a day gig never made sense for Kevin Roy. Upon the release of the Winnipeg troubadour's 2014 debut, Taller Than The Trees, he left the stability of his high school teaching gig for a life on the road. Swapping in students wielding knives, saws and implements of destruction in the high school wood shop for more attentive audiences in North American bars and theatres, Roy hasn't looked back.
His latest release, the Kickstarter-goal surpassing Heartworn Highways, focuses heavily on staying true to one's roots - something the Neil Young-inspired Roy does in spades. He even attended Kelvin High School, the very same educational institute Young himself famously failed to graduate from.
Those roots go back to his grandfathers (one a guitar slinger, the other had a wicked way with a harmonica - both instruments utilized by Roy). At age 10, he picked up a pawn shop six string to mimic his older brother - the only difference between Roy and his elders is that he stuck with it, and he's been weaving poignantly honest songs, peppered with a John Prine-esque wit, to critical and chart success.
The recording of the 10 song Highways found Roy re-teaming with co-producer Lloyd Peterson (Weakerthans) at Winnipeg's Paintbox Recording, where they were joined by a host of Winnipeg music scene luminaries, including William J. Western (co-producer of Del Barber's JUNO-nominated Prairieography) on pedal steel, Crooked Brothers' honorary percussionist Daniel Bertnick, and Red Moon Road's Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner on banjo. Vocalists Madeleine Roger (Roger Roger) and Amelia Peterson supply the golden harmonies. With most of the instruments captured live-off-the-floor, it feels as though the listener is right in the room with Roy and co., soaking in the twanged-up folk tunes.
Mastered by JUNO-winner Jamie Sitar, the recordings have a clean kick that sounds like old country and roots through brand new speakers.
When he isn't slinging a guitar or camera, Kevin Roy finds solace fishing the shores of the nearest body of water.