The V-Roys: Sooner or Later

the v-roys, sooner or laterThe V-Roys: Sooner or Later
In 1996, country legend Steve Earle started E-Squared Records. The first band he signed was 20-something alt-country band, The V-Roys. In the band’s brief three year career, they released two albums and garnered a fair amount of critical acclaim while never achieving critical success. The band’s lead singer, Scott Miller now operates a record label which is releasing, Sooner or Later. The compilation consists of selections from the band’s two full lengths as well as some unreleased tracks.
When reviewing a retrospective of a band there are two questions I always ask myself. First, is the music good? The V-Roys present an easily digestible version of alt-country. Opening track, “Guess I Know I’m Right” shows shades of Old 97’s. “Pounding My Heart” is a more traditional country tune, reminiscent of Willie Nelson. “Sooner or Later,” the song the collection is named for, shows the band at their poppiest. The track reminds me of 90s one hit wonder, Sister Hazel. The track features an infectious pop sound complete with tight harmonies but a distinctive country drawl.
So the answer to my first question is a yes. But the second question is really the important question and that is: is the band worthy of a retrospective? A decade after their break up, The V-Roys’ were probably destined to be forgotten. Scott Miller could not stand that thought so a retrospective was the best way to keep the memory alive. I understand that but the band does not show me anything that leads me to believe they were an intricate part of the legacy of alt-country. Bands like the Old 97’s existed before them and I don’t see any evidence that modern alt-country artists like Ryan Adams take any particular influence from them.
In the end, if you heard The V-Roys back in the day and always wanted to hear more from them, Sooner or Later will give you your fix. Fans of Scott Miller’s post-V-Roys’ solo work might find the collection an enjoyable historical document, but I do not know if causal alt-country fans will find this album a must-have. It is good but not terribly important, in my mind.
Rating: 7.0/10
MP3: The V-Roys “Sooner or Later”
Buy: iTunes