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Del McCoury Wins Big At 33rd Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards

Del McCoury Wins Big At 33rd Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards

McCoury has tour dates listed throughout November.

The annual homecoming of musicians and industry leaders within the international bluegrass community (IBMA) gathered again in Raleigh, NC last week to celebrate and award the year's best songs, albums, and players.

Recognized yet again for his dynamic and immediately recognizable voice that has lent high, lonesome heart to over 30 records in his six-decade career, Del McCoury was crowned Male Vocalist of the Year for the fifth time. This is McCoury's 19th IBMA award to date, maintaining the title of the most awarded artist in bluegrass history.

As with most things McCoury, it's all in the family. Cody Kilby, guitar player for The Travelin' McCourys (founded by his sons Rob and Ronnie, and longtime Del McCoury Band members, Jason Carter and Alan Bartram), was named Guitar Player of the Year for the first time in his career.

Largely regarded as a genre architect and wildly supportive of next-generation pickers, McCoury's influence and impact were felt in every category of this year's awards, and certainly in the World of Bluegrass music festival that tails the conference, of which tens of thousands of music fans from across the globe travel to attend. He first came on the bluegrass scene in 1963 playing with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys.

In the 1980's he found front-man success and began playing with his sons Rob and Ronnie McCoury (also founding members of The Travelin' McCourys), relocating to Nashville. His influence and taste are as diverse and as varied as his namesake festival DelFest lineups-having collaborated with the likes of Phish, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Steve Earle, and countless expected and unexpected others.

At 83, McCoury refuses to slow down and why would he? Playing music with family-and friends who feel like family-to loving and appreciative fans continues to keep the bluegrass patriarch feeling young. The DMB tour rolls on with tour dates from mid-October to mid-November of this year, all while planning for DelFest 2023 which takes place annually over Memorial Day weekend in beautiful Cumberland, MD. A full list of remaining tour dates for 2022 is below. For more information on DelFest 2023, please visit here.

On tour:

Oct. 14 - Papa Joe's Banjo-B-Que - Grovetown, GA

Oct. 15 - Bloomin' Bluegrass - Farmers Branch, TX

Oct. 21 - Sellersville Theater - Sellersville, PA

Oct. 22 - Rams Head - Hammondsport, NY (co-bill with The Travelin' McCourys)

Nov. 10 - Walhalla Performing Arts Center - Walhalla, SC

Nov. 11 - Renfro Valley Barn Dance - Mount Vernon, KY

Nov. 12 - Industrial Strenght Bluegrass - Wilmington, OH

Nov. 13 - Library Theater - Hoover, AL

Even among the pantheon of music's finest artists, Del McCoury stands alone. From the nascent sound of bluegrass that charmed hardscrabble hillbilly honkytonks, rural schoolhouse stages, and the crowning glory of the Grand Ole Opry to the present-day culture-buzz of viral videos and digital streams, Del is the living link.

To sum all that he is and has accomplished in 8 decades is a fool's errand but a few of the highlights are as follows: He is a former member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys and the de facto leader of The Del McCoury Band in which he shares the stage with sons Ronnie (mandolin) and Rob (banjo), alongside monster musicians Alan Bartram (bass) and Jason Carter (fiddle).

On stage he believes in not writing setlists, relying on pure musicianship and audience participation to decide what comes next. He's a co-founder and namesake of DelFest, the beloved genre-spanning festival that takes place in Cumberland, MD over Memorial Day weekend. He has won nine IBMA Entertainer of the Year trophies, is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and is a two-time Grammy winner.

He has toured and collaborated with Dierks Bentley, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and was part of the O Brother 'Down From The Mountain' tour. When Del and the boys recorded a Tiny Desk for Bob Boilen and his NPR music team, the harmonies were delivered with such a force that was "so pure and beautiful" that it made Boilen's "eyes well up with tears." Boilen continued to heap praise by writing, "Not since bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley played the Tiny Desk have I felt vocals resonate so deeply." His latest album, Almost Proud, was released on Feb. 19, 2022.

Photo Credit: Scott Sharpe




From This Author - Michael Major


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