Kenny Roby, former leader of the oft-missed 6 String Drag, strikes an easy balance between his country roots and a taste for pop music. Singing like a hick Elvis Costello — particularly in the way he ends a lyrical line — Roby’s first solo release is a satisfying affair, with nods to folks like Randy Newman and the Band. Playing most of the stringed instruments himself (with former Drag drummer Ray Duffey on skins), Roby showcases himself with a spare sound, adding only slight embellishments to the overall mix. Caitlin Cary, violinist for Whiskeytown, adds her touch to songs such as “Early Morning Blues (pt. 1),” and they are the better for it. Roby has an interesting way with words, for example “You go with all the older girls/I bet you take ’em from my dreams” from “Why Can’t I Be You.” The record, while too short, gives a good indication of the talent of Kenny Roby. Play on, brother.
RiceBox Records, 623 S. Peartree Lane, Raleigh, NC 27610; http://www.riceboxrecords.com