If you know the title of the 5-CD boxed set released on his McCoury Music label earlier this year — Celebrating 50 Years Of Del McCoury then you already know that Del’s wrapping up his 50th year in bluegrass, but you might not know that Del’s approaching the 150th edition of his SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction weekly show, Hand-Picked with Del McCoury. Past New Year’s Days have seen Bluegrass Junction airing Hand-Picked marathons, but this time around, the twin occasions will be celebrated with a special two-hour edition set to air at 4:00 pm Eastern on New Year’s Day–and this time around, Ronnie McCoury will be at the helm. The show will feature more than two dozen of the many collaborations Del’s done with other artists over the years–including several from upcoming albums–and Ronnie and show producer Jon Weisberger spent several weeks earlier this month lining up greetings, reminiscences and stories from a boatload of Del’s many friends and colleagues, from members of the Del McCoury Band to Patty Loveless, Vince Gill, Earl Scruggs, Eddie Stubbs, Marty Stuart, Tim O’Brien, Alison Krauss+Union Station, Bobby Osborne, Jesse McReynolds, Dierks Bentley and many, many more.
Catch all of them and their music on this special edition of Hand- Picked with Del McCoury at 4:00 pm Eastern on New Year’s Day–but don’t tell Del; it’s a surprise!
MCCOURY MUSIC & HIGH SIERRA MUSIC ANNOUNCE INITIAL LINEUP FOR 3rd ANNUAL DELFEST ALLEGANY COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS, CUMBERLAND, MD
TICKETS NOW ON SALE, WWW.DELFEST.COM
(Nasvhville, TN) – After much anticipation, bluegrass patriarch Del McCoury and WAMU’s Bluegrass Country’s Katy Daley announced the initial lineup for the 3rd Annual DelFest live on air this morning. They then proceeded to take calls from fans and play cuts from the Del McCoury Band’s new album, Family Circle, which hits stores today.
Along with the Del McCoury Band and Del’s sons’ spinoff, The Travelin’ McCourys, next year’s featured artists include Yonder Mountain String Band, The Avett Brothers, Keller Williams and Friends featuring Jeff Austin and Keith Moseley, David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Railroad Earth, Dailey & Vincent and others (see below for full list). ‘While there will be many more acts added, we are proud to announce this first round of artists many who are friends of ours,’ says Ronnie McCoury of the announcement.
DelFest will be held Thursday, May 27 through Sunday, May 30, 2010 at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, MD (2.5 hrs from Baltimore and DC). It 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 3rd 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 serves 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 preceded 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 25, 26, and 27).
A limited number of early bird passes are on sale now, as well as DELuxe Experience (VIP) packages and RV passes. For detailed information and to purchase tickets, visit www.delfest.com.
AT A GLANCE:
3rd Annual DelFest
May 27 – 30, 2010
Allegany County Fairgrounds, Cumberland, MD
The Del McCoury Band (three performances over the weekend)
Yonder Mountain String Band
The Avett Brothers
Keller Williams & Friends featuring Jeff Austin and Keith Moseley
David Grisman Bluegrass Experience
Dailey & Vincent
The Travelin’ McCourys
Larry Keel & Natural Bridge
The Hillbilly Gypsies
Many more to be announced!
Tickets on sale now at delfest.com
$110 4-day pass; $99 3-day pass (prices good through January 11, 2010)
DELuxe Experience and DelFest Academy packages available now.
www.Delfest.com for more detailed information
Live From Bonnaroo 2009 DVD
We are very excited to announce that a full song from the Del McCoury Band’s Bonnaroo performance will be included in the ‘Live from Bonnaroo 2009′ DVD. This collection features 16 incredible performances and exclusive footage from Bonnaroo 2009. All Audio has been assembled from the master recordings and remixed in stereo and 5.1 surround. With live performances by Bruce Springsteen, Phish, the Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg, Elvis Costello, Ben Harper and Relentless7 among many, many others, Live From Bonnaroo 2009 captures the energy of the festival and showcases the amazing artists that made this an unforgettable event.
Can’t wait to see it? See the exclusive preview – only available at Bonnaroo.com.
Live Bonnaroo 2009 DVD Performances
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – Outlaw Pete Phish- Down With Disease Beastie Boys – Intergalactic Snoop Dogg – I Wanna Love You Elvis Costello with Jenny Lewis and Her Sound – Go Away Ben Harper and Relentless7- Fly One Time Andrew Bird- Fitz and the Dizzyspells The Decemberists- The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid Del McCoury Band – Moneyland Coheed and Cambria – Welcome Home Amadou & Miriam – Masiteladi Santigold – L.E.S. Artistes Zac Brown Band – Who Knows Passion Pit – Little Secrets Raphael Saadiq – Keep Marchin’ Cage the Elephant- Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked
A limited number of DVDs are available now for pre-order for the price $15 plus shipping and handling. DVDs will be sent out in mid December.
There are a few incontrovertible truths in life: First base is 90 feet from home plate, Martin Van Buren was the eighth president, and Del McCoury is the coolest cat in America. After all, the septuagenarian is one of music’s most admired elder statesmen, counting Elvis Costello, Bjork, and Richard Thompson among his many devotees. 2009 marks McCoury’s 50th year in music, and what better way to celebrate than by releasing a box set full of handpicked tracks many of which were rerecorded for this project from each stage of his prodigious career?
Born in York, Pennsylvania, in 1939, Del’s spent the last 50 years living the musician’s life described in his song ‘Never Grow Up Boy': ‘Don’t ever let it be said, darlin’/That what I do don’t bring me joy/Climb in the seat beside my Martin/’Cause I’m a guitar pickin’, bluegrass singin’/Never grow up boy.’ Somewhere in all these years he and his eponymous band have won a truckload of awards, built a fanbase composed of everyone from bluegrass purists to sandal-wearing hippies (thanks to his spellbinding live performances), and even founded his own label-as well as the annual DelFest bluegrass festival.
Originally a banjo player, McCoury switched to guitar during his short tenure with Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys as lead singer in 1963; Monroe’s lineup at the time, featuring McCoury and Bill (Brad) Keith on banjo, was probably the strongest roster he’d fielded since the days of Flatt, Scruggs, and fiddler Chubby Wise two decades prior. After leaving Monroe, McCoury returned home, working various jobs to support his young family while playing music part time with his new band, The Dixie Pals. These years are represented on Disc 1 with new takes on classics such as ‘Are You Teasing Me,’ ‘Dark Hollow’ and ‘White House Blues,’ in addition to originals ‘Dreams’ and Grateful Dead favorite ‘Rain and Snow.’
In the early 1980s, Del’s teenage son Ronnie joined the Dixie Pals as the group’s mandolin player; brother Rob came on as the banjo picker soon after. Renamed The Del McCoury Band, the family would take Nashville by storm with its high energy music and downhome charm. Many years (and 36 IBMA awards) later, Del and the boys in addition to current sidemen Jason Carter (winner of multiple Fiddle Player of the Year awards) and bassist Alan Bartram are still on top of the bluegrass world. This journey is well represented on the final four discs of the box set, which features classics such as ‘Nashville Cats,’ ‘Pick Me Up On Your Way Down’ and excellent murder ballad ‘Blackjack County Chains.’ Disc Five is a collection of The Del McCoury Band’s most beloved tracks of the past decade, including fan favorites ‘All Aboard’ and ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning.’
The quintet’s live show is really something that must be experienced and not just by fans of bluegrass/roots music but if by some chance Del’s gang doesn’t come by your neck of the woods too often, these five CDs are an acceptable, if costly, substitute.
My one quibble about this box set is the way it is composed. It’s a five disc set in which each 10-song disc represents a decade in McCoury’s musical history. While this arrangement does give the set a definite sense of McCoury’s timeline as a musician, five discs for fewer than three hours of music is, well, a little bloated. Luckily this minor sin is rectified by the extensive liner notes, featuring letters from Ronnie and Rob to their father as well as numerous photographs.
For a DelHead, this is essential listening: The new recordings of his older work are a joy to listen to, full of vigor and loaded to the gills with that high lonesome sound edged with innovation. In the span of five discs, we’re able to hear where McCoury’s been, and where he’s going. For the Del novice, it’s a fine introduction to the music of one of bluegrass’ best. Let’s hope for another 50 years of McCoury magic.
BLUEGRASS ICON RELEASES 5-CD CAREER-SPANNING BOX SET May 12, 2009
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL MCCOURY IS A FEARLESS AND FESTIVE JOURNEY ACROSS RICH LIFE AND CAREER
ELVIS COSTELLO: ‘Del gives hope to everybody&To keep the purity that you need to do this kind of music, and the drive and energy, that takes a special kind of guy.’
NASHVILLE, TN, May 5, 2009: Imagine if Bob Dylan holed up in a studio for a few weeks with a red-hot band to record a 5-CD retrospective of his career. Well, no less excitement and wonder should be accorded Grammy-winning bluegrass icon Del McCoury, because with CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL MCCOURY, to be released May 12thon McCoury Music and distributed by Sony/RED, that’s exactly what he did.
For those who have never heard Del, this is your chance at redemption. The highly esteemed Elvis Costello recently commented, ‘Del gives hope to everybody&To keep the purity that you need to do this kind of music, and the drive and energy,that takes a special kind of guy.’ Added son Ronnie, who with brother Rob, form the backbone of the band, ‘Keeping up with dad is a challenge. He’s like a jazz musician he doesn’t go into specifics when we play live or in the studio because he believes in spontaneity, which, if you listen closely, really comes through on the set.’
From the first track on the first disc to the closing chords of the collection’s final tune, CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL MCCOURY is both a fearless and festive journey through time and tradition, as expressed by a true American roots artist whose musical education begins at the side of the Father of Bluegrass Bill Monroe, matures and grows as Del influences the likes of Jerry Garcia and Alison Krauss and then comes full circle on the set’s final disc as the master is in turn influenced by his students.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL MCCOURY is not for the stodgy traditionalist who would have icons like Del enshrined in glass, only to be let out every few years to perform pitch-perfect classics from the late 1950s. No, as befits an artist who, at 70, continues to work and be creative into his eighth decade, the collection respects traditional most by using it as a jumping-off point, rather than an end in itself.
Recorded in a series of marathon sessions, CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL MCCOURY features more than 30 new recordings of songs from Del’s first 40 years of performing and an additional 18 from the Del McCoury’s Band most essential tracks of the past ten years.
Grateful Dead fans will delight in ‘Rain and Snow,’ most accurately described as a ‘cover of a cover’ of his own song which preserves a great deal of the fun and affection Jerry and the boys brought to it. Also of note for fans of 60’s music is a version of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Nashville Cats,’ which takes the original’s clever wordplay and musicianship to new levels, with extended breaks and a vocal delivery that will have listeners laughing from deep in their gut.
Of course, beyond the obvious tributes to musicians and songs he deeply respects, CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL MCCOURY is really about an artist celebrating himself. Traditional bluegrass classics he played decades ago and early originals like ‘High on a Mountain,’ ‘Are You Teasing Me,’ ‘Dark Hallow,’ ‘Good Man Like Me,’ Rain Please Go Away’ have the snap and the playfulness and the out-of-time freshness that brought chart success to the ‘O’ Brother Where Art Thou?’ soundtrack several years ago, and, more recently, the Grammy-winning Best Album, RAISING SAND from Alison Krauss and former Led Zeppelin frontman, Robert Plant which Del was invited to sing on as the only guest vocalist.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL MCCOURY is also filled with many touching and personal moments. Del’s renditions of ‘Dreams,’ ‘Let an Old Horse Run,’ ‘Loneliness & Desperation,’ ‘Undone in Sorrow,’ and ‘I’ve Endured’ boast an intensity and a humanity that only an artist who has lived a rich and full life can muster.
If a collection so large and comprehensive can be said to have a center, it’s ‘Never Grow Up Boy’ and ‘Nothin’ Special,’ both from the Grammy-winning THE COMPANY WE KEEP. The former song in particular forms a mission statement and explanation of how Del McCoury continues both longtime fans of bluegrass and newcomers who discovered his work through one of his many disciples, including Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Steve Earle and jam band favorites Phish, Leftover Salmon and Younder Mountain String Band, who have all graced the stage with Del.
In addition to a Grammy and 3 dozen IBMA’s, Del’s most recent achievements include a touring schedule of all the summer’s major festival. Del will be performing at Bonnaroo and the Newport Folk Festival, and he just finished up star turns at Merlfest and Jazzfest and, with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder, Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday bash at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
A complete schedule and ticket information, including info on DelFest (May 22-24, Cumberland, MD), Del’s very own event which boasts the likes of Old Crow Medicine Show, Railroad Earth, Sam Bush, Leftover Salmon, Tim O’Brien, Dark Star Orchestra and many, many more, visit www.delmccouryband.com. For those who can’t get enough of Del, CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL MCCOURY 12-page full-color booklet full of rare family photos, in addition there is also a companion CD, a 14-track companion CD titled BY REQUEST which consists of, in Del’s words ‘the songs people shout out for us to play night after night.’ For more information, including a complete track list and purchasing info, visit www.mccourymusic.com/50years.cfm
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL MCCOURY BLUEGRASS ICON’S QUINTESSENTIAL RESTROSPECTIVE 5-DISC BOX SET TO BE RELEASED MAY 12, 2009
‘Del gives hope to everybody&To keep the purity that you need to do this kind of music, and the drive and energy, that takes a special kind of guy.’ – Elvis Costello
Nashville, TN, March 2, 2009 McCoury Music is proud to announce the upcoming May 12th release of CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL McCOURY.
CELBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL McCOURY is a stunning 5-disc special edition box set collection encapsulating a 50-year legacy of brilliant, heartfelt music from the Bluegrass icon, who recently celebrated another milestone by turning 70 years old. With more than 30 new recordings of songs from Del’s first 40 years of performing and an additional 18 from the Del McCoury’s Band most essential tracks of the last decade, this quintessential box set is complete with a 12-page full color booklet of photographs from the McCoury family archives-some which have never been seen.
From classics that he first sang back in the late 1950s to such stunning originals as ‘High On A Mountain,’ ‘Are You Teasing Me,’ ‘Dark Hollow,’ ‘Bluest Man In Town,’ ‘Rain And Snow,’ ‘Good Man Like Me, ‘Rain Please Go Away,’ as well as ‘Nothin’ Special’ and ‘Never Grow Up Boy’ from the Grammy-winning, The Company We Keep, it’s truly a life’s work being handed down.
‘Del gives hope to everybody fifty years is a long time to be playing music in any field,’ says Elvis Costello. ‘But to keep the purity that you need to do this kind of music, and the drive and energy, that takes a special kind of guy.’
Elvis’ words are echoed by other master musicians and fans alike whose support for Del has only intensified over the years. The onetime Bill Monroe sideman is now the music’s spiritual and artistic heir. Since the early 90’s, Del’s popularity has soared. In addition to countless awards, including a Grammy and 3 dozen IBMA’s (and an unprecedented 9 Entertainer of the Year trophies), Del’s influence reaches well beyond his Bluegrass disciples, from 2008 Grammy Album of the Year winner Alison Krauss, to Dierks Bentley, Steve Earle, Vince Gill, and jamband fav’s Phish, Leftover Salmon and Yonder Mountain String Band.
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL MCCOURY was recorded in a marathon session that lasted only a few days. As befits a living legend, and a lively one at that, he brings a fresh and inspired take to all the tracks, particularly those that have been part of his repertoire since the beginning.
‘We went through the songs pretty quickly,’ says son Ronnie, who plays mandolin. ‘Take after take, it was just great. Dad sounds better than ever on here. We had a list of songs that the three of us made, with fifteen or twenty songs from each of the decades and the albums that he made before he started owning his own recordings, and he would just pick some things to record on each session and then we just went in and knocked them out. So they all have a real live feel to them.’
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF DEL MCCOURY is far from a swan-song. If Del’s summer tour schedule is any indication, it’s going to be a lively celebration indeed. Details are forthcoming about a rigorous schedule, including a much coveted slot at Bonnaroo, one of the nations biggest summer festivals. Del will also be hosting the 2nd Annual Delfest in Cumberland, MD in May. For more information, as well as late-breaking news, visit: www.mccourymusic.com.
To hear the music, see track listing, download images from Celebrating 50 Years of Del McCoury visit www.mccourymusic.com/50years.