Warning: cliché statement to follow.

Someone once said “You can take a boy out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the boy.” That someone probably wasn’t invited to many social gatherings in the immediate fallout of such statement, I digress.

While the sentiment may be overused and eye-roll-inducing there may be some truth to it when it comes to t.Roy & The Smoking Section. A precursor to the forthcoming 16-track Dining Room (2023), The Texas Grit EP is a small sample of what to expect.

To its namesake, the five-track EP The Texas Grit, immediately embodies strength of character for t.Roy & The Smoking Section, especially Lenny Pettinelli on piano who remains a strong and enjoyable presence throughout. The EP kicks off with “Southeast Texas Son” which captures an almost Lovett sense of delivery while showcasing the requisite organ and sliding electric. It is the consummate Texas sound. It permeates sun and wide-open dusty Texas blues/rock fusion we’d expect. The EP shifts into “Color Me Blu,” a track which exists in a swinging swagger of bluey chops that can only be achieved by a seasoned musician such as t.Roy and crew. It is equal parts talent and heart. To keep our emotions in check, we’re then met with “Chaison Park.” The moving song pours out a longing for youthfulness against a backdrop of heartbreak in East Texas. It offers up glistening memories in the sun restricted by a heartbreak that is only understood with age. As we’d anticipate “Give Me Your Heart” drops in a love track, but overlays it with horns and keeps things fresh and not pandering. Wrapping up the EP “Some Kind of Secret” blends a more aggressive edge with the bluesy undertones. Pleasantly surprising, it incorporates pops of digital to shift the dynamic to a more fevered energy while remaining tethered to the swampy Southeast Texas base.

t.Roy & The Smoking Section’s The Texas Grit EP is undeniably one part Texas, one part travelled musician. There is no cliché in this EP. It is pure Southeast Texas music that lives deep in talented musicians that play from the heart and soul, and not always the Lone Star State.