The heart and soul of this self-titled debut CD, blacktopGypsy, is Heather Woodruff and Andie Kay Joyner. These two exceptional musicians have spent most of their lives preparing for this dynamic partnership. Joyner and Woodruff were both raised in small east Texas towns on big heaping helpings of musical encouragement from their families. Joyner got hooked at 5 years old when her family got an electric piano and an old country songbook. In those early years, she and her parents performed as a trio for local events, with her mom on bass fiddle, step dad on guitar, and Andie doing the vocals. That soon led to singing with a bluegrass band, and at 13 she began working with several Opry bands as a backup vocalist. Woodruff started down her path at 3 years of age playing the fiddle. As a child, her parents entered her in fiddle contests all over the state, in all age categories, and taking top honors most every time. Woodruff even played the Ryman Grand Ol’ Opry at the ripe old age of 10. Heather also spent several years backing Branson bands to hone her art.
The gals got acquainted in the early ‘90s. Then for the next ten years or so, Woodruff and Joyner toured with other bands, performed together at Adair’s in Dallas every Tuesday for about a year, and shared a house for a while, where they began quite a bit of collaborative songwriting. They took touring jobs either individually or together backing several Texas music artists like Mark David Manders, Max Stalling, Tommy Alverson, and Johnny Lee (Woodruff on fiddle; Joyner as vocalist). During this phase they perfected their “world-class hotel jammer” method of songwriting when their schedules coincided. Eventually with an overflowing and multifaceted collection of songs, and lots of musical touring highway time under their belts, it was a natural evolution of talent, life experience, song collection, and timing that blacktopGYPSY was born. The name collectively reflects the roots and foundation lifestyle of the 2 talented women at the core of this amazing musical synergy.
BTG’s recording feature Woodruff on fiddle and mandolin and Joyner’s vocals. They are joined by John Moore on drums, Rodney Pyeatt on lead guitar, Steve Cargill on bass guitar, and Lloyd Maines on steel guitar and dobro. BlacktopGYPSY and Adam Odor produced the collection. All the songs were written or co-written by Andie Kay Joyner and Heather Woodruff. Although the collection reflects the backbone country/bluegrass fiddle and vocals of the pair, the musical styles and genres run a very varied and eclectic course.