Photo by Scott Sharpe
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 www.delfest.com.
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