News

Del McCoury Band onboard Mountain Song at Sea, Feb 1-4, 2013

We’re about to be a part of the biggest bluegrass festival at sea and we’d love for you to join us! Mountain Song Productions is partnering with Sixthman to fill an entire luxury cruise liner with more than a dozen bluegrass and acoustic artists including David Grisman Sextet, Del McCoury Band, Tim O’Brien, Bryan Sutton, Steep Canyon Rangers, Kruger Brothers and many more!

Mountain Song at Sea will set sail February 1-4, 2013, from Miami to Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas aboard the Norwegian Sky, a luxurious ship full of all the amenities you’d expect – pools, hot tubs, a casino and music on multiple stages, around every corner. There’s something special that happens when a group of artists who share a passion for their music and a community of like-minded fans gather together to journey aboard one ship. Mountain Song at Sea will provide experiences that you can’t get anywhere else – shows with your favorite artists in intimate venues, spontaneous artist collaborations, jams, interactions with artists and through it all the creation of friendships and your own Mountain Song at Sea community. Artists will host Q&A sessions and other activities, like a poker tournament, beer and wine tastings, workshops, games, and more!

You’ve never seen this many bluegrass fans at sea! The entire ship has been chartered for the inaugural Mountain Song at Sea festival, and will be full of like-minded fans just like you. Every person on board will be there for one thing: to live and breathe all the amazing music for three full days! So prepare to sail on the greatest music festival celebrating the traditions, the legends and new evolutions of bluegrass! Check out www.mountainsongatsea.com to find out more details about the event and how you can be a part of the pre-sale and get yourself onboard!

American Legacies show review – Savannah Music Festival

March 23, 2012
SMF: Preservation Hall/Del McCoury @ Trustees
By Jim Morekis

It’s been written before but I’ll write it again: There are only two American musical traditions worth talking about:

1) The African-American tradition, historically centered in the Mississippi River Delta;

2) and the Scots-Irish tradition of the Appalachian Mountains.

That’s it. Everything else that’s come out of this country that’s worth listening to — jazz, R&B, gospel, rock ‘n’ roll, bluegrass, country — has its roots in one or the other, or both, of these.

(The undeniable fact that both of them are Southern traditions is yet another reason for you non-Southerners to be happy we allow y’all to stick around here. You’re welcome.)

Popular portrayals and conventional wisdom insist that we should consider those two traditions as somehow in opposition to each other. But in another of those adventurous double bills for which SMF Director Rob Gibson is becoming famous, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans and Del McCoury’s bluegrass ensemble joined forces at the Trustees Friday night for one of the biggest barn-burners in recent SMF history, one which defied lazy explanation.

While the alliance of the two groups actually happened well before this evening — with their American Legacies recorded collaboration and a Letterman appearance — the overwhelmingly rapturous reception of the show was by no means a given considering the generally conservative nature of many typical SMF audience members.

It’s true that many SMF audiences tend to skew a bit older, but it’s just as true that I can’t recall another crowd at the Trustees Theatre — even for rock shows — demand an encore in as spirited and vociferous fashion as the crowd did this night.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The takeaway from this show is twofold: A) the Preservation Hall Jazz Band remain a bunch of smiling, genteel killers who can play with anyone, anywhere, and B) it is a very pleasant surprise just how well these two fine ensembles melded America’s two seminal musical traditions.

To read the rest of this review, click here

DelFest early bird ticket deadline today

The first deadline for discount tickets to DelFest is Jan 30, 2012. The Fifth Annual DelFest will take place in Cumberland, MD from May 24 -27.

Until midnight tonight, you can purchase a four day ticket for only $120. Click here to purchase.

DelFest originated from the desire to create a family-friendly music festival celebrating the rich legacy of McCoury music while creating a forum for world-class musical collaborations and to showcase fresh new talent with a down-home feeling. Produced in association with High Sierra Music, the 5th Annual DelFest will again offer a quality festival experience stamped with the unique McCoury touch. Personally chosen by Del, the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, MD served as the perfect location for DelFest. Nestled along the Potomac River in the scenic Appalachian Mountains, the Fairgrounds are convenient to four major airports and easily reached by rail or road.

In addition to traditional stage sets by these world-class artists, attendees can again expect to see one-of-a-kind collaborations, special guest sit-ins, various tributes to Del McCoury and his musical legacy, intimate appearances, both at unique “playshops”—informal workshops where the emphasis will be on performance rather than instruction—and in late night indoor performances and picking sessions. DelFest will also include a band competition, with the winners invited to return for a regular set at the following year’s gathering, and for the second year, Delfest will be immediately preced by a 3-day Music Academy hosted by The Travelin’ McCourys, where all levels of musicians can learn from their heroes (the Academy will take place May 22, 23, and 24).

DEL MCCOURY’S TRIBUTE TO THE FATHER OF BLUEGRASS RELEASED ON CD JUST IN TIME FOR THE GRAMMY AWARDS


(Nashville, TN)…The Del McCoury Band’s tribute to Bill Monroe, Old Memories: The Songs of Bill Monroe, will be released on CD just in time for the Grammy Awards.  The album was previously released digitally and on vinyl in September 2011 and received a Grammy nomination for “Best Bluegrass Album” in December.

The aforementioned September date, also marked the 100th anniversary of Bill Monroe’s birth, and not surprisingly, there have already been plenty of tributes to the Father of Bluegrass Music, with more still to come.  But when listeners turn to Old Memories: The Songs Of Bill Monroe–what they hear won’t be the result of a carefully crafted campaign, but the result of a decision that was as spontaneous as it was inevitable—because for Del McCoury, Bill Monroe’s legacy isn’t just a matter of history, but something that’s as immediate and personal as the guitar he picks up every time he gets ready to play.

“I had done songs of his on different albums I made through the years,” says McCoury, who served a life-changing year with Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys from 1963 to early 1964.  “But I’d never really thought about doing a whole album until the day we were flying home from the Grammy awards—and by the time we got to Nashville, I’d made a pretty good list of what I wanted to do.  I didn’t want to do a lot of things that everybody had already done; I wanted to do somethings that weren’t real popular but were really good.  Some were songs I’d never heard him sing, some were songs that he’d sing on a show—and some were songs that he sang on the record, but he made me learn the lead.  And I wanted to do them in the same keys he did, because if you change that, you just don’t have the same sound he had on them.”

The result is a set that perfectly captures the essence of Bill Monroe’s music—and does it in a way that stands head and shoulders above the crowd.  For when Del McCoury lifts his voice to sing “In Despair” or “Live And Let Live,” what comes out is what he learned to sing standing next to Monroe on stage, tempered by another few decades of bluegrass tradition; when he tackles a song like “Heavy Traffic Ahead,” he remembers his brother bringing that 78 RPM record home from the store when it was first released; and when he harmonizes with son Ronnie on the Monroe-Hank Williams gem, “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome,” family and tradition blend perfectly as he sings the master’s part while Ronnie takes over the part Del used to sing himself with Monroe.

That intimate knowledge of Monroe’s style—and of his repertoire—helps to make Old Memories a truly unique collection.  “I put more runs in my guitar playing for this one,” McCoury notes.  “Because, you know, Bill really liked Edd Mayfield’s playing, and Edd played runs all the time.   So without even thinking about it, I think I played guitar on this record more like the way I played when I was with Bill—I even took a break on ‘Used To Be,’ because Bill had Charlie Cline take a solo on that one.  And I got some songs that you don’t hear too often, like ‘Lonesome Truck Driver Blues.’  That one kind of hit home to me, because I used to drive a truck myself, and there are a lot of things in that song about what a truck driver goes through.”

Backed as always by his ace Del McCoury Band—son Ronnie on the mandolin, son Rob on the banjo, along with long-time fiddler Jason Carter and six year veteran Alan Bartram on bass—McCoury works his way through a generous 16-track set that nods to the show he played with Monroe by starting with a quick “Watermelon On The Vine” and concluding with a bit of a favorite closer, “Y’all Come.”  In between there are well-known classics like “Close By” and “Rose Of Old Kentucky,” obscurities like the Hank Williams-penned “Alabama Waltz,” rarities like “The Girl In The Blue Velvet Band” and “Train 45”—Monroe was one of the few to record the tune with lyrics—and much more.  But whether they’re staples of the bluegrass repertoire or resurrected rarities, what each has in common is an incomparable authenticity, bestowed in equal measure by Del McCoury’s personal connection to Monroe and his music, and by his unalloyed musical integrity.  And in the end, that makes Old Memories: The Songs Of Bill Monroe not just the tribute to Bill Monroe that it’s intended to be, but a tribute, too, to the newest member of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame—Del McCoury.

Del McCoury Band teaming up with David Grisman for "Big Mon" jam at Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival

“ A Summer Fest Brought Indoors for the Chicago Winter” –When You Awake

One weekend of bluegrass & blues isn’t enough for the endless Chicago winter.
Now in its fourth year, CBB Fest will host over 50 bands throughout December
and January upon iconic Chicago stages.

Kicking things off in December, CBB fest organizers have tacked some late
nights and a Kyle Hollingsworth-infused beer tasting onto the following
weekend’s 3-night run of String Cheese Incident at the Aragon Ballroom.

Back-to-back January weekends will again bring a pair of eclectic tributes to the genres that started it all. CBB’s
original headliner, David Grisman, will bring his Quintet to the Auditorium Theater at Roosevelt University on
January 21st to join longtime friend Del McCoury, and his festival-favorite Del McCoury Band. On top of their
respective sets, the legendary duo will take the stage together for a “ Big Mon Jam,” inspired by the Father
of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Plus, The Bluegrass Ball feat. The Travelin’ McCourys will host the evening’s
second on-stage collaboration along with Bill Nershi of The String Cheese Incident and Jeff Austin of Yonder
Mountain String Band. Joe Purdy will return to Chicago for the first time since a sold-out date at Lincoln Hall to
round out the bill with two bands synonymous with the festival itself, The Giving Tree Band and Majors Junction.

Ensuring early ’12 is swarming with the roots music that keeps us warm at night, CBB Fest will return to
Congress Theater the following weekend on January 28th for another three-stage foray into sensory overload.
Headlining the fest’s conclusion will be today’s unmatched representation of the of old Muscle Shoals country-
and-soul sound, the Drive-By Truckers. Providing direct support for DBT will be Dawes, and Chicago’s most
celebrated singer-songwriter since John Prine and Steve Goodman, Joe Pug.

Saturday, 1/21/12 – Auditorium Theater – $39.50-$59.50 – 2pm – Midnight

“ Big Mon Jam” feat. the Del McCoury Band & David Grisman
+ Additional full sets by the Del McCoury Band * David Grisman Quintet *

Joe Purdy * The Bluegrass Ball feat. The Travelin’ McCourys with Bill Nershi
and Jeff Austin* The Giving Tree Band * Majors Junction * + Chicago’s favorite

roots musicians busking throughout the venue & MORE to be announced

1/28/12 – Congress Theater – $35-$45

Drive-By Truckers * Dawes * Joe Pug * + MANY more on 3 stages

http://lineup.cbbfestival.com/

Del McCoury receives 9th Grammy Nomination

DEL McCOURY BAND’S OLD MEMORIES

Tribute to Bill Monroe, The Father of Bluegrass Music”, nominated for a GRAMMY AWARD, Best Bluegrass Album

The Del McCoury Band has garnered critical raves for their latest effort, Old Memories: The Songs of Bill Monroe. This tribute to the man widely considered to be “The Father Of Bluegrass Music” has now also been recognized by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. Old Memories was just nominated in the Best Bluegrass Album category for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, which will be airing live on CBS February 12th, 2012. This gives the Del McCoury Band a chance to add a second Grammy to their collection-having won in this same category back in 2005. It also marks Del’s ninth Grammy nomination.

Whether they’re staples of the bluegrass repertoire or resurrected rarities, what each of these sixteen songs has in common is an incomparable authenticity, bestowed in equal measure by Del McCoury‘s personal connection to Monroe and his music, and by his unalloyed musical integrity.  And in the end, that makes Old Memories: The Songs Of Bill Monroe not just the tribute to Bill Monroe that it’s intended to be, but a tribute, too, to the newest member of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame-Del McCoury.

The Del McCoury Band:

Del McCoury (guitar, vocals)

Ronnie McCoury (mandolin)

Rob McCoury (banjo)

Jason Carter (fiddle)

Alan Bartram (bass)

Old Memories available digitally and on vinyl

Del McCoury Online: Website | Facebook

Old Memories: The Songs of Bill MonroeDigital DownloadLP + Digital Download


MPI – Music Producers Institute – Launches Session Video Channel "MPI Live" September 27th, 2011

The Del McCoury Band to be Featured in MPI Live’s Premiere Video

On September 27, 2011 Music Producers Institute (MPI), an experiential learning company founded in 2008 that helps aspiring record producers learn a rarely-taught craft, launched MPI Live, an online music video site that offers exclusive streaming HD videos of master recording sessions, with audio fed directly from the studio console.

A 65-minute film showcasing recent sessions by renowned GRAMMY-winners The Del McCoury Band will be the service’s inaugural presentation, available exclusively at MPI’s website: www.musicpi.com. The beloved Del McCoury, who was inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame during the International Bluegrass Music Awards on September 29th in Nashville, TN, gave access to six HD cameras while cutting tracks at Nashville’s Sound Emporium’s Studio “A” in May for a new album entitled “Old Memories: The Songs of Bill Monroe” (street date 9/27/11). All sixteen tracks for the album, recorded as a tribute to legendary bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe, were recorded with MPI students in attendance.

The session video, entitled “Del McCoury Band: The Bill Monroe Sessions,” showcases the band as they record two tracks on the new album, “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome” and “Train 45 (Heading South).” Online customers will see two unique views of the film, which includes rehearsals, multiple tracking takes, outtakes, overdubs and funny flubs in full stereo audio from the console, just as it sounded in the studio that day. Engineer-producer David Ferguson (Johnny Cash, U2, Ryan Bingham, Jacob Dylan) gives a personal tour of the studio and shares insights, tips and advice.

For $4.99, customers will be given the option to “gift” the second viewing to a friend with a unique passcode. The second viewer then must provide an email address and the unique passcode to access the movie. Click here to view.

The brainchild of GRAMMY-winning producer and MPI founder Steve Fishell, MPI Live is the first company to offer – through on demand video streaming – an easy and affordable way for record production and audio engineering students, along with music fans around the world, to view first hand how master recordings are made. “If you are at all interested in the what goes on in the recording studio, MPI Live is an inexpensive way to learn more about the process of making records. With MPI Live’s multiple cameras and the direct console mix, it’s like being right there in the studio. I wish I’d something like this years ago when I got started.”

Customers access the on-demand session videos through Brightcove’s flexible delivery system, which automatically selects the highest-quality video stream for the device it detects, be it a PC, laptop, smartphone or notepad, securely delivering the highest-quality video experience possible worldwide.

A second session video featuring country-rock pioneers POCO is in post production and more sessions are being planned for the future.

For more information contact Steve Fishell at 615-400-5324 or at stevefishell@musicpi.com.

About MPI:

Founded in 2008 by GRAMMY-winning producer, former record label executive and veteran musician Steve Fishell, Music Producers Institute (MPI) teaches record producing by hosting live, student-attended master recording sessions with well-known artists. Believing that record production, a rarely-taught craft, is best learned by experientially observing the “real deal,” Fishell and MPI have hosted master recording sessions with Kris Kristofferson, The Del McCoury Band, Delbert McClinton, POCO, Radney Foster, Raul Malo, Robert Earl Keen, Todd Snider, Sam Bush, Jason & the Scorchers, Jace Everett, Jerry Douglas, Rodney Crowell, Asleep at the Wheel and Foster & Lloyd.

MPI is a crash-course in record producing; it’s like gaining five years of producing experience in three days, observing your favorite artists in a class limited to only ten students.

In 2009 MPI partnered with the Recording Academy Nashville Chapter to present a GRAMMY U/ MPI Workshop at Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville. A packed house of attendees heard record production lectures from producer Steve Fishell and singer-songwriter Radney Foster, then the GRAMMY U class toured the famed studio’s “A” room, site of two recent GRAMMY “Album of the Year” projects, the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand.

Music Producers Institute is an opportunity for students to experience a “real world” recording session in a world-class studio–from pre-production all the way through to mastering. MPI focuses on the creative side of producing records, as opposed to the engineering or technical side and they do it with well-known indie-world artists in the studio.

MPI sessions concentrate on the producer’s role in the studio and the many artistic decisions that must be made throughout the process including song selection and arranging; band pre-pro rehearsals and preparation before entering the studio; recognizing stellar studio performances while tracking, singing and doing overdubs; demonstrating a vocal mic shootout; and singing and comping a complete lead vocal along with a background vocal session.

“The producer is to music what the director is to film,” Fishell explains. “Just as the movie director supervises and coordinates the efforts of a team of actors, cinematographers, set designers, sound track composers, and other professionals, the music producer oversees the team of featured artists, musicians, songwriters, arrangers and engineers who contribute to the recording of commercial songs and albums. Whether working for a major label or acting independently, the producer is in large measure responsible for the project’s artistic and financial success.”

MPI also hosts seperate mixing and mastering days with world-class engineers at the board who answer all questions about their techniques. Daily guest lecturers drop by the studio for an hour to talk about their experiences in the studio. Past lecturers have included Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel), Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift, Sara Evans), Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and engineer-producer David Leonard (Prince, John Mellencamp, Indigo Girls).

About The Del McCoury Band:

In the department of chill-bump raising, screaming high tenor bluegrass singers, there’s no one dearer to the hearts of bluegrass fans than Del McCoury. With more than 50 years of performing under his belt, nine IBMA Entertainer of the Year awards, a Grammy in 2006 and the prestigious National Heritage Award in 2010, McCoury and his band are universally regarded among the greatest ambassadors for the genre.

One of the most awarded band’s in bluegrass music history, the Del McCoury Band is also a family affair. Del’s sons Ronnie McCoury (on mandolin and vocals) and Rob McCoury (on banjo) have toured with their father since the 1980′s and are regarded as masters of their respective instruments. Renowned fiddler Jason Carter was inspired at age 16 to learn the fiddle after hearing Del McCoury sing; he had the chance to audition for his hero in 1992 and has been with Del ever since. Upright bassist Alan Bartram anchors the band with his soulful note choices technique and formidable technique.

McCoury first came to national attention as the lead singer and driving rhythm guitarist with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys during 1963 and 1964, after playing banjo in regional bands in the Baltimore/Washington area for several years. Forming Del McCoury & The Dixie Pals band around 1967, he played the festival circuit, largely in the Northeast. He moved from Pennsylvania to Nashville in 1992, changing the name of his group to The Del McCoury Band, which included sons Ronnie on mandolin and Rob on banjo. McCoury gained national recognition for his hard-edged, high energy style of bluegrass, winning numerous honors. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2003.

Del’s infectious smile and easy-going but always professional manner are as genuine as his musical integrity, which has built bridges for bluegrass to other styles of music and musicians. His willingness to record songs not normally associated with traditional bluegrass music, his collaborations on recordings with artists like Steve Earle and Dierks Bentley, and his diverse tour schedule that encompasses everything from traditional bluegrass settings to the jam band scene at festivals like Bonnaroo, are all important catalysts for bringing bluegrass to new audiences.

About Steve Fishell:

MPI founder Steve Fishell emerged in the early ’90s as a producer for cutting-edge, hip country artists. Fishell produced No. 1 hits for Radney Foster, Pam Tillis, Charlie Major, and Jann Browne, as well as albums and tracks for The Mavericks, Dixie Chicks, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Emmylou Harris. He has helmed the producer’s chair for artists as disparate as Little Richard, Gretchen Wilson and guitar legend Albert Lee.

Recently Fishell produced tracks for rock-country stylist Uncle Kracker, plus added his pedal steel stylings to Eric Church’s latest effort “Chief,” which debuted at Number One on Billboard’s Hot 200 chart.

Fishell spent four years at progressive-acoustic indie giant Sugar Hill Records and it’s veteran sister label Vanguard Records. At Sugar Hill and Vanguard, Fishell managed A&R responsibilities on projects with Sam Bush, Kinky Friedman, Kim Richey, Billy Joe Shaver, The Duhks, Willie Nelson and Carbon Leaf.

While at Sugar Hill, Fishell signed The Infamous Stringdusters, who swept the 2007 IBMA awards with wins for Emerging Artist of the Year, Song of the Year and Album of the Year.

During his tenure at Sugar Hill/Vanguard, Fishell worked on select outside projects. In 2005, Fishell won a GRAMMY for co-producing Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster, an independent CD released by the non-profit American Roots Publishing where Fishell was a board member.

Prior to his stint at Sugar Hill/Vanguard, Fishell was part of the A&R department for Ken Levitan’s start-up Rising Tide Records. At Rising Tide, Fishell contributed to the GRAMMY winning soundtrack album for the 1998 Robert Duvall film “The Apostle.” Fishell also signed Rebecca Lynn Howard to the label and produced her album along with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

As a pedal steel guitarist, Fishell toured toured for ten years as a member of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band between 1980-89. He played on seven albums for Harris and contributed to several of her top ten singles, including “Born To Run,” “I’m Movin’ On” and “Last Date,” which went to number one. In 1986 Fishell was a part of the ace backing band for Trio, a GRAMMY-winning collaboration between Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt. As a session steel guitarist, Fishell has recorded with artists as varied as Eric Church, Uncle Cracker, Steve Goodman, Radney Foster, John Prine, Carlene Carter, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Marshall Crenshaw, Rosie Flores, Jann Browne, The Mavericks, Flaco Jimenez, The Dixie Chicks and The Chieftains.

For more information contact Steve Fishell at 615-400-5324 or at stevefishell@musicpi.com.

Del McCoury releasing Bill Monroe Tribute Album

(Nashville, TN)…This September marks the 100th anniversary of Bill Monroe’s birth, and not surprisingly, there have already been plenty of tributes to the Father of Bluegrass Music, with more still to come. But when listeners turn to Old Memories: The Songs Of Bill Monroe–released digitally September 27th with a vinyl release following on October 25th–what they hear won’t be the result of a carefully crafted campaign, but the result of a decision that was as spontaneous as it was inevitable—because for Del McCoury, Bill Monroe’s legacy isn’t just a matter of history, but something that’s as immediate and personal as the guitar he picks up every time he gets ready to play.

“I had done songs of his on different albums I made through the years,” says McCoury, who served a life-changing year with Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys from 1963 to early 1964. “But I’d never really thought about doing a whole album until the day we were flying home from the Grammy awards—and by the time we got to Nashville, I’d made a pretty good list of what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to do a lot of things that everybody had already done; I wanted to do somethings that weren’t real popular but were really good. Some were songs I’d never heard him sing, some were songs that he’d sing on a show—and some were songs that he sang on the record, but he made me learn the lead. And I wanted to do them in the same keys he did, because if you change that, you just don’t have the same sound he had on them.”

The result is a set that perfectly captures the essence of Bill Monroe’s music—and does it in a way that stands head and shoulders above the crowd. For when Del McCoury lifts his voice to sing “In Despair” or “Live And Let Live,” what comes out is what he learned to sing standing next to Monroe on stage, tempered by another few decades of bluegrass tradition; when he tackles a song like “Heavy Traffic Ahead,” he remembers his brother bringing that 78 RPM record home from the store when it was first released; and when he harmonizes with son Ronnie on the Monroe-Hank Williams gem, “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome,” family and tradition blend perfectly as he sings the master’s part while Ronnie takes over the part Del used to sing himself with Monroe.

That intimate knowledge of Monroe’s style—and of his repertoire—helps to make Old Memories a truly unique collection. “I put more runs in my guitar playing for this one,” McCoury notes. “Because, you know, Bill really liked Edd Mayfield’s playing, and Edd played runs all the time. So without even thinking about it, I think I played guitar on this record more like the way I played when I was with Bill—I even took a break on ‘Used To Be,’ because Bill had Charlie Cline take a solo on that one. And I got some songs that you don’t hear too often, like ‘Lonesome Truck Driver Blues.’ That one kind of hit home to me, because I used to drive a truck myself, and there are a lot of things in that song about what a truck driver goes through.”

Backed as always by his ace Del McCoury Band—son Ronnie on the mandolin, son Rob on the banjo, along with long-time fiddler Jason Carter and six year veteran Alan Bartram on bass—McCoury works his way through a generous 16-track set that nods to the show he played with Monroe by starting with a quick “Watermelon On The Vine” and concluding with a bit of a favorite closer, “Y’all Come.” In between there are well-known classics like “Close By” and “Rose Of Old Kentucky,” obscurities like the Hank Williams-penned “Alabama Waltz,” rarities like “The Girl In The Blue Velvet Band” and “Train 45”—Monroe was one of the few to record the tune with lyrics—and much more. But whether they’re staples of the bluegrass repertoire or resurrected rarities, what each has in common is an incomparable authenticity, bestowed in equal measure by Del McCoury’s personal connection to Monroe and his music, and by his unalloyed musical integrity. And in the end, that makes Old Memories: The Songs Of Bill Monroe not just the tribute to Bill Monroe that it’s intended to be, but a tribute, too, to the newest member of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame—Del McCoury.

McCOURY AND SHUFFLER TO BE INDUCTED INTO BLUEGRASS MUSIC HALL OF FAME

Nashville, Tenn…. Bluegrass ambassador and the leader of one of the most awarded bands in bluegrass, Del McCoury and pioneering bass player and guitar stylist George Shuffler will be the next inductees into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

In the department of chill-bump raising, screaming high tenor bluegrass singers, there’s no one dearer to the hearts of bluegrass fans than Del McCoury. With more than 50 years of performing under his belt, nine IBMA Entertainer of the Year awards, a Grammy in 2006 and the prestigious National Heritage Award in 2010, McCoury and his band are universally regarded among the greatest ambassadors for the genre.

McCoury first came to national attention as the lead singer and driving rhythm guitarist with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys during 1963 and 1964, after playing banjo in regional bands in the Baltimore/Washington area for several years. Forming Del McCoury & The Dixie Pals band around 1967, he played the festival circuit, largely in the Northeast. He moved from Pennsylvania to Nashville in 1992, changing the name of his group to The Del McCoury Band, which included sons Ronnie on mandolin and Rob on banjo. McCoury gained national recognition for his hard-edged, high energy style of bluegrass, winning numerous honors. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2003.

Del’s infectious smile and easy-going but always professional manner are as genuine as his musical integrity, which has built bridges for bluegrass to other styles of music and musicians. His collaborations on recordings; at diverse tour dates; and on national broadcast outlets in genres as diverse as jazz, pop, country and the jam band scene are important catalysts for bringing bluegrass to new audiences.

George Shuffler’s influences in bluegrass are as an innovative bass player, guitar stylist and featured vocalist and humorist, primarily as a sideman in some of the most important bands in the music’s history.

Shuffler grew up in a large family near Valdese, North Carolina, learning his first guitar chords at age 10. Young George listened to many of the groups performing live on various 50,000-watt radio stations around the country, and Merle Travis was his idol. In the early 1940s Shuffler was working in a local string band with a regular $20-a-week job at a bakery. Filling in as bass player with Charlie & Danny Bailey and the Happy Valley Boys at a theatre and several other venues in Granite Falls, N.C., Shuffler accepted a $60 a week job with the Baileys and left with them for Nashville and The Grand Ole Opry, his first professional job.

After the Baileys quit the business, Shuffler worked with a comedy team for a while, returned to Valdese and got married and worked with several bands playing guitar and singing. Carter Stanley called Shuffler on December 28, 1950 and said he and Ralph were leaving Bristol to move to WVLK in Versailles, Kentucky, and he asked Shuffler to join the Stanley Brothers to play bass—an offer George accepted. Following WVLK, Shuffler worked with The Stanley Brothers in numerous markets. His “walking style” of bass playing, introduced on the Stanley Brothers’ 1953 Mercury Recordings, would imprint itself on a number of younger players, including Hall of Fame member Tom Gray. Primarily a bass player, Shuffler was in and out of the Stanley group many times until the early 1960s, when it got down to just Carter, Ralph and George.

Inspired by Bill Napier, Shuffler perfected his signature style of cross-picking that would be widely emulated. Following Carter Stanley’s death December 1, 1966, Shuffler stayed on with Ralph for several months. He then worked with Don Reno and Bill Harrell until 1969, recording several albums with them on bass. For a number of years he also led The Shuffler Family gospel group, which recorded more than a half dozen albums.

The Hall of Fame inductions will be one of the high points of the International Bluegrass Music Awards, which will take place September 29, 2011 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. Tickets may be purchased online at www.worldofbluegrass.org or by calling 1-888-GET-IBMA or (615) 256-3222.

The Hall of Fame is housed in the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky.

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