The plight of the artist is a difficult one.
Making the decision to create art that will be commercially
viable (i.e. put food on the table) is sometimes a
necessity that causes even the greatest of talents
to compromise their dreams. In other cases, these
compromises can be a breeding ground for new and unexpected
directions in one's artistic journey. Such is the
case for Roy Lanham, a jazz aficionado and guitarist
from the Forties who is best known for his work with
Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers.
Roy always considered himself a jazz
player and is often compared stylistically to Django
Reinhardt, but in order to sustain a living as a musician
spent most of his life on tour with various bands
playing pop standards and western style music reminiscent
of Bob Wills' western swing. Western music at the
time simply paid more and Lanham happily made the
transition in style out of necessity. The end result
was a wonderful hybrid of jazz and country that is
as beautiful to listen to, as it is unique.
Roy saw his creative peak with
his own band The Whipperwhills during the 1940s and
unbelievably his work with this amazing band was never
released until two years ago when the Bloodshot label
made the recordings available on Hard
Life Blues. Amazing Roy's talent has largely
been forgotten and only a select few are familiar
with his unparalleled artistry.
FREEwilliamsburg journalist, Amy Brown recently spoke
with Roy's widow Marianne and his daughter Debbie.
Listen to the exclusive radio documentary here and
discover the music, life, and laughter of a forgotten
is Roy's youngest daughter. She currently lives in
Tucson, Arizona. Debbie and her husband are working
to chronicle all of Roy's work on the website www.roylanham.com.
She lived with her family off and on until she was
30. In the summers she would go on the road with the
Pioneers in the family's mobile home.
Marianne LeGlise Lanham is from New Jersey
and met Roy when she was on the road as a pop singer.
They married in 1941 and stayed together until his
death in 1991 on Valentine's Day. She's is retired
and living in Los Angeles and has appeared in various
films including the Truman Show.
Roy Lanham - An Audio Documentary