The Del McCoury Band Releases
The Streets of Baltimore
Available in Stores and online September 17
“The picture on the cover, that’s Broadway in Baltimore, maybe back around the time I started playing in the clubs,” Del McCoury says with a smile. Then he adds, just before breaking into his signature, eyebrow-wiggling laugh, “Back then, you could get anything you needed down there—and a lot of things you didn’t need, too!”
It’s a long way from his apprenticeship in those Baltimore honky tonks in the late 1950s to his stature as the ultimate bluegrass ambassador today, but Del McCoury’s negotiated the path with enough perseverance, humility, good humor, adventurousness—not to mention talent and enthusiasm—to last a lifetime. Along the way, he’s earned not just the applause, but the passionate devotion of fans ranging from old-timers who remember those early days to country aficionados drawn in by his collaborations with Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels and Vince Gill to tie-dye-clad youngsters who’ve just learned about him from hearing artists like Phish and the Yonder Mountain String Band rave about—and perform—his music.
And lest you think that the open-mindedness that’s led McCoury into so many surprising collaborations and contexts comes from the younger generation, heed the words of Ronnie McCoury, who says of The Streets Of Baltimore, “That one’s all Dad’s!” And indeed, with sons Ronnie and Rob and their Del McCoury Band colleagues Jason Carter and Alan Bartram spending more time touring as The Travelin’ McCourys, the job of choosing songs for the album fell squarely on Del’s shoulders—and judging by the results, it’s clear that Del McCoury’s as creatively inspired as ever.
Where the Del McCoury Band’s last two projects—2012’s tribute to Bill Monroe (Old Memories) and 2011’s collaboration with the Preservation Hall Band, American Legacies —were built around themes, The Streets Of Baltimore shows McCoury and his award-winning band at their most relaxed and free-form. “I just put together a group of songs that I liked,” says Del. “And then we got into the studio and tried to make them sound good!”
Still, it’s not hard to see how the new album is shaped by the musical memories acquired and lessons learned starting back in McCoury’s Baltimore days. For one thing, as a reminder of how tightly entwined bluegrass and country music were at the time, there’s a healthy dose of songs from the country repertoire, including the title track (a 1966 country hit for Bobby Bare), “Too Many Rivers” (a crossover hit for Brenda Lee in 1965 and recorded by dozens of country singers at the time) and “Once More With Feeling,” a massive hit for Jerry Lee Lewis that reminds us that McCoury and his band were called on to perform when “The Killer” was honored in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s American Music Masters series a few years ago. And while pop and jazz fans know “Misty” as an entry in the “Great American Songbook,” Del and the boys give an affectionate nod here to country singer and humorist Ray Stevens, whose banjo-driven version of the song scraped the top of the country charts nearly 40 years ago.
But while there’s a lot of looking back on The Streets Of Baltimore, McCoury turned to some favorite contemporary writers, too, to keep things grounded in the here and now. Long-time song supplier Mike O’Reilly is accounted for with the album’s opener, Shawn Camp and friends sent in the timeless waltz, “I Wanna Go Where You Go,” occasional co-writer Jerry Salley teamed up with Donna Ulisse for a gripping Civil War story and Verlon Thompson contributed the pensive meditation, “I Need More Time.” Del expands the circle, too, giving hit artists and songwriters Larry Cordle and Steve Wariner, along with Country Hall of Famer Bill Anderson, their first McCoury cuts. There’s even room for a McCoury original that sports a characteristically generous, upbeat take on a fundamental gospel message.
Yet if McCoury cast a wide net to haul in the songs for this album, the performances are as distinctive, and as tightly focused as ever. Years of constant musical companionship have made the Del McCoury Band among the most renowned ensembles in any kind of music, and every number on the album shows off their unmatched precision and empathy for the material. Meanwhile, Del’s magnificent voice soars, whispers, pleads and rings out with just the right feeling for each song, recalling Jerry Lee Lewis’s slippery ways on “Once More With Feeling,” coloring the opening lines of “Butler Brothers” with foreboding and injecting the slightest tinge of nostalgia in tackling a bluegrass reworking of a doo-wop classic from his youth.
All in all, then, The Streets Of Baltimore is a masterful performance—exactly what one would expect from a close-knit, supremely talented group led by a man universally acknowledged as a national treasure. It’s a long way from the streets of Baltimore to where Del McCoury’s music has taken him these days, but today, just as he was then, Del McCoury is right where he needs—and wants—to be.
Del Yeah Weekend
Featuring The Del McCoury Band (headlining both nights)
Big Sam’s Funky Nation, The Bluegrass Ball featuring The Travelin’ McCourys and Andy Falco (Infamous Stringdusters), Head for the Hills, Whitewater Ramble, Henhouse Prowlers and more!
Saturday, August 24 & Sunday, August 25
Old Rock House
St. Louis, MO
The idea of Del Yeah is to create a festival atmosphere in an outdoor setting or otherwise non-traditional venue complete with impromptu jams and unscheduled collaborations.
The World Premier of "Del and Woody: The Del McCoury Band Sings previously unreleased songs of Woody Guthrie"
On Saturday, June 29 at The Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts – Venetian Theater, The Del McCoury Band will headline Caramoor’s American Roots Music Festival – a daylong celebration of folk, string band, country, blues, gospel, and bluegrass music. The concert will mark the world premiere and the only New York performance of The Del McCoury Band’s new project, “Del & Woody” featuring unheard and unsung words of Guthrie set to music by Del himself. To help bring new life to the work of American folk poet Woody Guthrie, his daughter, Nora Guthrie, gave Del McCoury exclusive access to the archives of her father’s unpublished work. Now, with the support of Woody Guthrie’s family, The Del McCoury Band will perform an evening of never-before-heard lyrics written by the “Dust Bowl Troubadour” set to new music by Del McCoury and including a multi-media presentation featuring Guthrie’s original words, drawings and other materials from the archives that inspired this performance. In addition, McCoury, will perform his trademark Bluegrass standards and favorites.
April 15, 2013: (Nashville, TN)…Anticipation for the sixth Annual DelFest has ratcheted up significantly in recent weeks. Whether it’s from the spring weather in the air, the additional line-up announcements, or the faithful fans just not able to wait much longer, it’s safe to say that this year’s festival can’t come soon enough.
Daily schedules were announced last week, and next Monday, April 22nd is the deadline for purchasing tickets at the current price level for the chance to see some of the best bluegrass, acoustic, string, and then some gathered in one place on Memorial Day Weekend.
This year’s lineup includes the festival’s namesake and headliner legendary Del McCoury, Trey Anastasio Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, Yonder Mountain String Band, Trampled By Turtles, Leftover Salmon, an All Star set dubbed the Masters of Bluegrass pairing Del with other luminaries Bobby Osborne, J.D. Crowe, Bobby Hicks, and Jerry McCoury, and much more.
In addition to 4 days and nights of non-stop music, discounted ticket prices include free on–site camping with great facilities, artist playshops, kids activity area, a band competition, an arts and craft faire and access to plenty of food and beverage vendors. DELuxe Experience tickets as well as RV hookups are sold out, and there are only a handful of dry RV passes still available.
The DelFest Academy is also selling fast with only a few slots remaining in some of the classes. The Academy consists of a friendly, encouraging, and intensive three-day learning experience with a group of some of the finest musicians in bluegrass. This year’s instructors are The Travelin’ McCourys and The Rambling Rooks. DelFest Academy will take place May 21-23, 2013.
Don’t miss out on this offer! For more information including complete schedule, and to purchase tickets, visit www.delfest.com.
Allegany County Fairgrounds
Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-26, 2013
This April, Ronnie will join Noam Pikelny, Bryan Sutton, Luke Bulla, and Barry Bales for a special evening of bluegrass in select Midwest cities. They’ll be playing small, intimate venues, so get your tickets quickly. Tickets are on sale now for the following venues:
April 9 – 20th Century Theatre – Cincinnati, OH
April 10 – Deluxe At The Old National Centre – Indianapolis, IN
April 11 – Sheldon Concert Hall – St. Louis, MO
April 12 – Evanston SPACE – Evanston, IL
April 13 – The Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
April 14 – The Rex Theater – Pittsburgh, PA
Just a reminder…the Masters of Bluegrass show in Bristol, TN has been rescheduled for March 15. There are still some tickets available. Hope you’ll join us. Check out what’s in store! Masters of Bluegrass – Pain in My Heart
Del is hitting the road again with Sam Bush for their co-headlining tour and will be stopping in Charlottesville, VA (2/21), New York, NY (2/22), Derry, NH (2/23) and Norwalk, CT (2/24)! Ticket information is linked below! These special concert events include Sam and Del exchanging memories and stories, along with the impeccable Bluegrass music they have been creating for more than five decades. These are true can’t-miss experiences! Click the links below for ticket information!
The Masters of Bluegrass debut in Bowling Green at SkyPac tonight. Check out this video of a few songs their working on!
Saturday’s show in Bowling Green is still on.