The Del McCoury Band
Del and sons, along with Jason Carter and Mike Bub, comprise what is undoubtedly the pre-eminent Bluegrass band of the day. They have consistently pulled down top honors from the International Bluegrass Music Association for the last four years, and they continue to make the finest traditional Bluegrass music of any of the more accessible bands working today, and it’s no wonder. This band has all of the elements essential to Bluegrass, and then some. It’s a family band, which generally brings a rare quality to any musical group. Del did his apprenticeship in the ’60s with the inventor of the genre, the late, great Mr. Bill Monroe, and they have all the right sensibilities to keep them traditional, yet current. The material they choose represents the influences of all the members, from the oldest down through to the youngest. This alone keeps it fresh, and keeps them in touch with their audiences. All the cuts are solid, well-executed songs that hold together very well.
I particularly enjoyed their rendering of John Sebastian’s “Nashville Cats,” as well as “Don’t You Think it’s Time to Go”…”But here it is six months or more, since you said goodbye/ Still you haven’t packed your bags and I wonder why/ I can’t keep going on like this, you know it hurts me so/ Darlin’ since you’re leavin’, don’t you think it’s time to go?” All true Bluegrass must also have a spiritual side, and that’s covered as well, with their rendering of Bill Monroe’s “Get Down on Your Knees and Pray.”
This release was produced by Jerry Douglas and Ronnie McCoury, and features guest appearances by Jerry, Bobby Osborne, and Bela Fleck. It’s dedicated to Del’s grandsons Jacob and Evan, who I think you’ll likely see joining the lineup of this institution in just a few years, just as Ralph Stanley III has joined his grandfather. I also think it’s pretty safe to predict that you’ll see Del getting a Grammy next year for either this release, or his recent collaboration with Steve Earle on The Mountain . Del and the group are opening for Steve Earle on his current tour. It should prove to be a memorable evening for fans of either artist. (The Del McCoury Band and Steve Earle are scheduled to perform March 13th at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta).
Rainmaker, Inc., P.O. Box 1435, Panama City, FL 32401; http://www.skaggsfamilyrecords.com/