Local CD Review: The V-Roys' 'Sooner Or Later'

The V-Roys

Sooner Or Later (F.A.Y.)

For the better part of the '90s, the V-Roys defined the sound of Knoxville. That's not to say they set some sort of musical template for other local bands—I mean, they literally sounded like Knoxville: unpretentious, kind of old fashioned yet spunky, rough around the edges but capable of surprising flashes of poetry. And now that we're a decade past their big breakup, it's a fine time to reintroduce ourselves to those sweaty rockers in the ties and coats. Sooner Or Later, a new compilation of favorite tunes selected from their two studio albums on E-Squared Records, accomplishes this with bittersweet results.

The familiar songs like "Pounding Heart" or "Sooner Or Later" are top-drawer material, still catchy and resonant after all these years. The album's selections nicely demonstrate the yin-yang songwriting talents of Mic Harrison and Scott Miller that balanced the V-Roys so well, ranging from cool assessments of love to raw emotions. But the addition of five previously unreleased songs tug at the heart in a different way—they reveal a band whose B-sides were often better than what a lot of other "roots rockers" succeeded with on the radio. New-found originals like "Hotel Room" and even covers like "How I Got to Memphis" show how strong the band's voice truly was. Then there are the songs that stir memories of long-ago performances around town, rockin' crowd favorites like "Burned" and "Smokey Joe's Cafe." With a couple more tunes, heck, they might've had enough for a third studio CD.

Fans with tickets to the V-Roys' one-off reunion show on New Year's Eve will get to witness their combined talents once more; the rest of us will be pleased with Sooner Or Later, if not entirely happy with the lingering sense that the band stopped creating music before its time.