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Eric Royer

Royer's Guitar Machine Band – 1998 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Eric Royer

Royer's Guitar Machine Band is in fact the sole proprietorship of Eric Royer, a Massachusetts street performer of bluegrass and Old-Time music.

Royer's musical contraption, The Guitar Machine, allows him to play acoustic guitar, electric bass and a cowbell with his feet while his hands play either a banjo or lap steel. Add in his hillbilly vocals and some harmonica, and what comes out sounds like a full band.

The most impressive thing about Royer's performance is he manages to play all these instruments simultaneously without sounding disjointed or strange.The material he chooses is mostly traditional fare like "Shady Grove," "Will The Circle Be Unbroken," and "Ida Red," but Royer plays with such enthusiasm it is easy to forgive him for recording yet another version of these war-horses. Add in versions of Uncle Dave Macon's, "Tell Her To Come Back Home," Don Reno's "Tennessee Breakdown," Hazel Dickens' "Won't You Come And Sing For Me," and even Stephen Foster's "Oh Susannah," and you've got a collective primer on traditional and old-time American music, played with passion and verve. (Eric Royer, 327 Shawmut Ave., Boston, MA 02118 or E-Mail: ericroyer@msn.com)