For fifty years, Del McCoury’s music has defined authenticity for hard core bluegrass fans, as well as a growing number of fans among those only vaguely familiar with the genre. This Grammy-winning iconic bandleader has been a force in the bluegrass world for over 50 years, and he is making it clear that he and his band have plenty of great music yet to play.
McCoury started out as an Earl Scruggs acolyte, playing banjo in the Baltimore area. When McCoury got the chance to join Bill Monroe’s band, Monroe moved him from banjo to guitar and made McCoury his lead singer. Family life soon called, and Del left the road, settling into a day job at a logging mill and keeping his performing and recording to a minimum. It wasn’t until his sons started joining the band that Del decided to go for it, and move to Nashville.
This move was fortuitous for the bluegrass world, and for the music world in general. The McCoury family became perennial International Bluegrass Music Association award winners, and started meeting people from other parts of the industry. Soon Del McCoury would find himself jamming with Allison Krauss, recording with Steve Earle, and touring with Phish, bringing bluegrass to a new generation.
The past decade has cemented McCoury’s status as bluegrass ambassador to the world. The band has earned membership at the Grand Ole Opry, won multiple Grammy awards, and performed at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. In McCoury’s hands, the future of bluegrass is bright.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“I’d rather hear Del McCoury sing ‘Are You Teasing Me’ than just about anything.” -Vince Gill
As the recent passing of Doc Watson indicates, the true legends of bluegrass music — like those of blues and jazz, and even the first and second generation of rock ’n’ roll — aren’t going to be around forever. So, if you get a chance to see them, don’t pass it up.
Luckily, [Del McCoury] the silver-haired 73-year-old is just as vigorous and virtuosic on the guitar as he was when he joined Bill Monroe’s band in 1963, and tours as hard as any 20-something rock star.
by Michael Machosky June 6, 2012