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.
2nd Annual Del Yeah Weekend
Featuring The Del McCoury Band
Cornmeal, Drew Emmitt, Danny Barnes & The David Mayfield Parade
plus Welfare Liners in Athens & Smokey’s Farmland Band in Black Mountain
Labor Day Weekend
Friday, September 2nd
Saturday, September 3rd
Pisgah Brewing Company
Black Mountain, NC
Del Yeah is back and bigger than before! After a very successful 2010 labor day weekend with over 2500 fans in attendance, Del McCoury music is excited to announce the 2ndannual ‘Del Yeah’ weekend – a multi-day, multi-venue ‘happening’ taking place over Labor Day weekend, 2011 in North Carolina and Georgia. 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.
Initial plans include shows on September 2nd and 3rd featuring the award-winning Del McCoury Band and their friends Cornmeal, Drew Emmitt, Danny Barnes & David Mayfield Parade presented at Terrapin Brewery in Athens, GA and Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, NC. Shows will be programmed for a full afternoon and evening’s worth of music and entertainment, culminating in closing jam sessions that will have audiences on the edge of their seats or dancing to the music all night long.
Del McCoury Band:
Led by a living bluegrass legend (whom The Washington Post alls a “national treasure”) and featuring four immensely skilled musicians (including sons Ronnie on mandolin and Rob on banjo, with Jason Carter on fiddle and Alan Bartram on bass), The Del McCouryBand has rightfully received numerous accolades including more than three dozen International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, a Grammy, and multiple Grammy nominations. This world-class ensemble performs original and traditional compositions with eloquent harmonies and “ferocious, purebred musicianship” (USA Today) that has earned them a wide range of fans, from their diverse group of “Del-Heads” to such respected musicians as Steve Earle, David Grisman and members of Phish and The String Cheese Incident. In 2008, Del started his own music festival, and DelFest has quickly become one of the premiere music festivals on the east coast. The band also regularly appears at some of the top festivals in the country including Newport Folk Festival, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Bonnaroo, Philadelphia Folk Fest, High Sierra, Grey Fox, and Austin City Limits Fest.
Formed over 10 years ago, Cornmeal has grown from humble beginnings into a nationally recognized live music institution. 10 years together is no simple task these days, especially when the last five have seen the band spending over half the year on the road. Heavily influenced by American roots and folk music, Cornmeal blends lightning fast tempos and impeccable harmonies into an unrivaled live performance that continues to expand upon the five-piece acoustic-electric groups’ vast musical repertoire. While steeped in the tradition of John Hartford and New Grass Revival, Cornmeal continues to forge their own path, pushing the boundaries of bluegrass, Americana and folk for a whole new generation of music lovers. With a rapidly growing fan base and ever-evolving sound, Cornmeal challenges the recipe of the bluegrass sound and live performance.
Revered as one of the most energetic and innovative mandolin players on the jamband/newgrass scene today, Emmitt’s “inestimable talents” (An Honest Tune) don’t end with just the instruments that can be picked. Holding the wheel steady on acoustic and electric slide mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar and mandola Emmitt also showcases on recent solo albums superlative storytelling and versatile vocal abilities. Drew Emmitt is best known for his over 20 years with Leftover Salmon and also the past few years with The Emmitt-Nershi Band
Part Southern gentleman, part humble artist, Barnes is being more than a bit self-effacing with this statement. Widely regarded as one of the most innovative and genre-bending artists of his craft, Barnes’ musical interests are both varied and adventurous, and he incorporates that versatility into progressive approach to an instrument that is musically polarizing and steeped in tradition. Although he demonstrates an appreciation for the history of the bluegrass, country, and folk music from which the banjo’s reputation was born, his inventive take is what truly separates him from his contemporaries…using the banjo as his ‘weapon of choice’ to play non-traditional music like rock, fusion, and jazz with electronic percussion and loop elements.
Who: Del Yeah featuring The Del McCoury Band, Cornmeal, Drew Emmitt, Danny Barnes, and The David Mayfield Parade (plus Welfare Liners in Athens and Smokey’s Farmland Band in Black Mountain)
Where and Friday, September 2nd at Terrapin Brewery – Athens, GA
Where: Saturday, September 3rd at Pisgah Brewing Company – Black Mountain, NC
The Del McCoury Band
And The Travelin McCourys
Friday, October 28th – Madison Theater – Covington, KY
Saturday, October 29th – Jefferson Theatre – Roanoke, VA
Tickets on sale: June 21st
Halloween: A time for costumes, sweet treats, trickery, AND quickly becoming a holiday known for hot music collaborations. The Del McCoury Band and Keller Williams have a long history together as well as a history of cutting edge Halloween extravaganzas, so the progression to creating a Halloween event together seems only natural. Delloween will close out the festival season with a 2 day, 2 city indoor festival on wheels with a loopless acoustic set from Keller Williams to start the night, followed by a set with The Del McCoury Band, and ending with a special late night set featuring both The Travelin’ McCourys and Keller Williams playing together!
The Del McCoury Band, Keller Williams, and The Travelin’ McCourys are festival veterans hitting just about every major festival in the country this summer and Del even has his own festival – DelFest, so that festival spirit will be the backbone of Delloween. All the Delloween artists are known for pushing the boundaries of music; Williams debuted his Show For Kids this summer at several heavy hitting festivals (with music from his album KIDS) while The Del McCoury Band has been touring and playing in support of the American Legacies album with Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Travelin’ McCourys have been promoting the wildly successful Bluegrass Balls series. Delloween will follow suit with innovative sets that all but erase the boundaries of a regular theatre gig.
Del McCoury Band:
Led by a living bluegrass legend (whom The Washington Post alls a “national treasure”) and featuring four immensely skilled musicians (including sons Ronnie on mandolin and Rob on banjo, with Jason Carter on fiddle and Alan Bartram on bass), The Del McCoury Band has rightfully received numerous accolades including more than three dozen International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, a Grammy, and multiple Grammy nominations. This world-class ensemble performs original and traditional compositions with eloquent harmonies and “ferocious, purebred musicianship” (USA Today) that has earned them a wide range of fans, from their diverse group of “Del-Heads” to such respected musicians as Steve Earle, David Grisman and members of Phish and The String Cheese Incident. In 2008, Del started his own music festival, and DelFest has quickly become one of the premiere music festivals on the east coast. The band also regularly appears at some of the top festivals in the country including Newport Folk Festival, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Bonnaroo, Philadelphia Folk Fest, High Sierra, Grey Fox, and Austin City Limits Fest.
Since he first appeared on the scene in the early ’90s, Keller Williams has defined the term independent artist. And his 16 recordings tell only half the story. Keller built his reputation initially on his engaging live performances, no two of which are ever alike. Williams’ solo live shows—and his ability to improvise to his determinedly quirky tunes despite the absence of an actual band—quickly became the stuff of legend, and his audience grew exponentially when word spread about this exciting, unpredictable performer. Today, whether performing as a one-man band (a stage show constructed around Keller singing his compositions and choice cover songs while accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar connected to a Gibson Echoplex delay system that allows him to simulate a full band), with a backing band (of which he has many – Keller and The Keels, Williams with Moseley, Droll and Sipe, Grunge Grass among others), or solo acoustic with simply he and his guitar, Keller always reveals himself as an artist of great stylistic breadth and infinite imagination. He is a singer, songwriter and musician, always on a quest for the new. Keller Williams has never followed the prescribed path laid out by the conventional music business but rather one of his own making. It’s a path that has served him well.
The Travelin’ McCourys
The Travelin’ McCourys do not stand still. They are on the road—and online—entertaining audiences with live shows that include some of the best musicians and singers from all genres. It’s always different, always exciting, and always great music.
No other band today has the same credentials for playing traditional and progressive music. As the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Rob McCoury on banjo continue their father’s work—a lifelong dedication to the power of bluegrass music to bring joy into people’s lives. And with fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram, the ensemble is loved and respected by the bluegrass faithful. But the band is now combining their sound with others to make something fresh and rejuvenating.
Who: The Del McCoury Band, Keller Williams, and The Travelin’ McCourys
Where/When: Friday, October 28th – Madison Theater – Covington, KY
AND Saturday, October 29th – Jefferson Theatre – Roanoke, VA
On sale date: June 21st
MPI is proud to present
a live tracking session with Grammy winners
The DEL McCOURY Band
Sound Emporium Studios
May 2-4, 2011 ★ Nashville, TN
See history in the making Monday through Wednesday May 2-4, 2011 in Nashville, TN when the The Del McCoury Band opens their studio doors to the public for the very first time. They’ll be cutting brand new material for a future release, and you can observe the process thanks to MPI: Music Producers Institute. MPI offers you the real deal; a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study record production while observing your favorite artists at work.
The band will track and record for two days in Nashville in the renowned Sound Emporium “Studio A,” where the “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack album was recorded and where Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Patty Griffin and many others have recently worked.
Del and the boys will record all day May 3-4 in “Studio A.” On Monday May 2nd MPI founder and Grammy-winner Steve Fishell will lead you through a day-long record production seminar, featuring demonstrations and lectures covering pre-production, tracking, vocals, overdubs, mixing and mastering. You’ll be totally prepared to observe Del and the band when they enter the studio the next day.
This is a master recording session and what you
hear and see will be released to the public.
It’s the real deal!
Tuition for this once-in-a lifetime session is $999
Limited to only TWELVE students
American music fans have an unprecedented opportunity to hear two masterful groups explore the common ground where bluegrass and jazz meet when the Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band release their collaborative American Legacies project on April 12th via McCoury Music and Preservation Hall Recordings. Inspired by the success of the Del McCoury’s participation on 2010’s PRESERVATION, a PHJB project made with multiple artists to benefit New Orleans’ unique Preservation Hall venue and its Music Outreach Program, the set offers a dozen songs filled with deep respect and joyful virtuosity. Complementing the release, the two groups have announced a joint tour that will feature them performing on their own and together in a groundbreaking concert experience.
With common roots in the rich musical gumbo of the American south in the 19th and early 20th centuries, bluegrass and jazz have sat alongside one another with a myriad of common influences and musical vocabularies that have nevertheless remained largely unexplored until now. American Legacies is a no-holds-barred tour of songs and sounds that sum up the simultaneous (and often intersecting) histories of two distinctively American musical forms—the jazz that has drawn music lovers from around the world to New Orleans for more than a century, and the “hillbilly jazz” of bluegrass, created more than 60 years ago by Del McCoury’s one-time employer, Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys.
Known as one of the premiere ambassadors of bluegrass, the Del McCoury Band is fronted by veteran Del McCoury, A hero to east coast bluegrass audiences through the 1970s and 1980s, he stepped onto the national stage with a move to Nashville in the early 1990s that started the Del McCoury Band on an unprecedented streak of International Bluegrass Music Association awards and international acclaim. Today, McCoury, along with a band that includes his sons Ron and Rob, are admired by hard-core bluegrass traditionalists and eclectic music fans and stars alike as they make appearances everywhere from the Bonnaroo Music Festival to late night network TV shows to their own popular Delfest. For millions of fans across the US and around the world, the Del McCoury Band is simply the face of bluegrass.
Founded just a few years before McCoury joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been carrying the distinctive sound of New Orleans jazz around the world on behalf of Preservation Hall, a unique venue that embodies the city’s musical legacy. With a cast of musicians schooled through first-hand experience and apprenticeship into the music’s historic traditions, the PHJB has served as an irreplaceable, vital link to the earliest days of one of America’s most beloved forms of popular music, evoking the spirits of times past in an ever-evolving modern context that has found them traveling around the world.
Traditional music master Del McCoury has earned Grammy nominations—and awards—before, but as he, his McCoury Music label and the Del McCoury Band savor the nomination of their Family Circle release for Best Bluegrass Album, a deeper look at this year’s candidates says something more about the man and his music. For while he’s a certified living legend who took home the nation’s top traditional arts honor this year, Del McCoury is also a vital presence in today’s cutting edge bluegrass as well, appearing on another five nominated recordings, including all but one of the Best Bluegrass Album nominees.
McCoury guested with long-time friends Sam Bush (Circles Around Me) and Peter Rowan (Legacy) and joined Patty Loveless, who inducted him into Grand Ole Opry membership, on her Mountain Soul II, all nominated alongside Family Circle. But he reached further, too, with an appearance on two country nominees as well: his duet with Dierks Bentley on U2’s “Pride (In The Name Of Love),” recorded with Punch Brothers, scored a nod for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, while Bentley’s album, Up On The Ridge, is up for Best Country Album.
Not surprisingly, the McCoury Band’s presence on other acclaimed projects goes beyond Del; Ronnie McCoury, Rob McCoury and Jason Carter all played and/or sang on Loveless’s project, and provided backing for a substantial part of long-time buddy Dierks Bentley’s album. In fact, when Bentley toured in the spring of this year to preview the album, he called on The Travelin’ McCourys—Ronnie, Rob, Jason and Del McCoury Band bassist Alan Bartram—for backing on club and listening room dates along with multiple national TV appearances.
For McCoury, being ready to help out—and keeping an open mind—just comes naturally, even as his talents are ever more widely recognized. “His voice has become more than bluegrass—he’s just a great singer,” Ronnie McCoury proudly says, and as this year’s Grammy nominations make clear, it’s not just with his own music.
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