Del McCoury

Born in York, PA  seventy three years ago, Del McCoury would once have seemed an unlikely candidate for legendary status. Bitten hard by the bluegrass bug when he heard Earl Scruggs’ banjo in the early 50s- “everybody else was crazy about Elvis, but I loved Earl,” he says with a chuckle- McCoury became a banjo picker himself, working in the rough but lively Baltimore and D.C. bar scene into the early 1960s. He got his first taste of the limelight when he joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in early 1963; the Father of Bluegrass moved McCoury from the banjo to guitar, made him his lead singer, and gave him a lifetime’s worth of bluegrass tutelage direct from the source in the course of little more than a year.

Skip forward to the ‘80’s and Del’s two sons joined the band, and by 1994, they were on top of the Bluegrass world when the quintet began an astonishing streak of top Entertainer of the Year honors that would net them 9 trophies in an 11 year stretch.  In the following decade, Del added a Grammy, was inducted into the most exclusive club in music, The Grand Ole Opry, started his own record label, began his own music festival, aptly titled DelFest, and then most recently was inducted in 2011 into the IBMA Hall of Fame.  Even with that success, he shows no signs of slowing down with a recent collaboration with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and a Grammy nomination for a collaboration with Dierks Bentley and the Punch Brothers—all to add to the long list of artists he’s shared the stage with which have included Phish, Vince Gill, Nanci Griffith, Warren Haynes, Steve Earle, and the Chieftains to name a few.