The Del McCoury Band
Venue: Meymandi Concert Hall
Date/Time: Thursday, April 04, 2013 | 8:00 PM
General Public: $35, $30, $25
Members: $30, $25, $20
The Del McCoury Band is one of the most talented, revered and vital groups in the modern bluegrass era. In 2009, Del McCoury celebrated 50 years as a professional musician. One of the greatest ambassadors for traditional bluegrass, Del has been no less acclaimed for embracing offshoots of the genre, embodying both aspects of his career through his annual Delfest music festival, where tradition is both honored and extended by the presentation of a wide array of bluegrass and string music performances. Over the past two decades, he and his band have become the most awarded act in the history of bluegrass, allowing them the opportunity to broaden their audience through appearances on late night television shows like David Letterman’s and Conan O’Brien’s, and at venues ranging from Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center to popular festivals like Bonnaroo and the Newport Folk Festival. PineCone is delighted to have The Del McCoury Band back in Raleigh for a night of world-class bluegrass.
“Here’s a guy who has been playing for fifty years, and he’s still experimenting-still looking to do things outside the box, to bring other kinds of music into bluegrass form,” says Americana music icon Richard Thompson, who saw his “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” turned into a bluegrass standard when McCoury brought it into the fold. “I think that’s the best bluegrass band, period. That’s it.”
About the rest of the band:
Ronnie McCoury, Mandolin
Ronnie McCoury was born in York County, Pennsylvania on March 16, 1967. It was in York County that he made his home for the first 24 years of his life. In January of 1992, Ronnie and his wife Allison made the move to Nashville, TN, where they have resided since that time. Growing up in a house where bluegrass music was played, and always listened to, Ron had the exposure from a very young age. Many pickin’ parties were held at the house, along with rehearsals that his dad would have with his band then, The Dixie Pals.
Like lots of other young boys, sports interested Ronnie very much, particularly baseball and basketball. One thing he clearly remembers is the fact that his dad never pushed him to play music or never “pushed it on him” at all, leaving both Ron and Rob to choose their paths on their own. At the age of 9 he started taking violin lessons. He took the lessons for two years and gave it up for sports. He played sports all the way through high school. But when he was just 13, after attending a show with his dad where he saw Bill Monroe perform, he decided that he wanted to play the mandolin. He practiced on it for six months and when his dad had an opening in the band for mandolin player, he asked Ron to fill it. That was on May 28, 1981 and Ronnie has been playing with his dad ever since.
In 1995, Ronnie and Rob teamed up and put out a self-titled CD on Rounder Records. In 1998, Ronnie teamed up with David Grisman and some other great mandolin players to create the CD titled Mandolin Extravaganza, which made its appearance on the Acoustic Disc label in 1999. This CD was nominated for a Grammy Award and also won Instrumental Album of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year at the IBMA awards show in October of 2000. In 1999, Ronnie co-produced The Mountain, with Steve Earle and The Del McCoury Band. 2000 also brought along with it Ronnie’s first solo project…Heartbreak Town.
Ronnie is married to Allison Bliss from Massachusetts and they have three children, Evan, Joshua, and Emma. Someone once asked Ronnie what his greatest accomplishments were, musically or non and his first response was “Starting my own family.” Next in line was receiving the Grammy for “The Company We Keep.” Family life is very important to the McCourys. Having children inspired Ronnie to put out his next project, Little ‘Mo McCoury, a CD full of children’s songs done bluegrass style.
Along with his award winning mandolin playing, Ronnie is also a singer/songwriter and producer. He has recorded or performed with such diverse acts as Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Phish, Charlie Daniels, John Hartford, Vince Gill, Loretta Lynn, Alison Krauss, David Grisman, Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks, the Allman Brothers, John Paul Jones and countless others!
When Ronnie isn’t on stage with the Del McCoury Band or The Travelin’ McCoury’s, singing and playing mandolin, you will probably find him at home with his family. He enjoys cooking, gardening and reading. He loves to play golf, remodel, and do construction work. He also enjoys picking up the guitar or maybe even the fiddle for a little musical change.
Rob McCoury, Banjo
Rob was born April 30, 1971 in York, PA as Robin Floyd McCoury. His earliest memories are of music, especially since it was everywhere around the house. There were picking parties, rehearsals, and festivals. Rob went to his first bluegrass festival at Ontalanee Park in Allentown, PA when he was six weeks old.
Rob “caught the pickin’ bug” when he was just eight years old, after seeing the Osborne Brothers at Sunset Park in West Grove, PA. He then realized how fortunate he was to have a great teacher in the house. Although he feels at times he was trying on his dad’s patience, he remembers that his dad would always take the time to show him the right way to pick, never forcing the music on him. Rob recalls “picking first thing in the morning and the last thing I did at night,” and it was what he wanted to do.
In June of 1986, Del had a festival to play in Bath, NY and he needed a bass player. At that time Rob knew almost nothing about playing a bass fiddle. He knew the chords on the bass but had never played before in a band situation. Although he was scared to death, he played bass with his dad that day and ended up being the bass player in the band for about a year, until the banjo position became available.
Rob’s first show as a banjo player was a benefit show for Olla Belle Reed, a great singer/songwriter who penned one of Del’s most requested songs, “High on the Mountain,” along with many others. The show was in the spring of 1987 in Wilmington, DE, and Rob has been with the band ever since.
In May of 1992, the McCoury family moved to Nashville. Rob is convinced the move was the best one they could have made. He is very appreciative of his life and the experiences he has had. In his own words, “It’s been a wonderful adventure that keeps getting better and better. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without music. I have gotten to see many parts of the world and meet lots of great people. I’ve made many great friends, but most of all I met my best friend, my wife Lisa, who supports me every step of the way.”
Rob is presently working with his dad as well as the Travelin’ McCoury’s featuring his fellow band mates Ronnie McCoury, Jason Carter, and Alan Bartram. Rob also has two children, a daughter Monroe Kennedy McCoury, age 6, and a son and grandpa’s namesake, Del Mercer Davis McCoury, age 2.
Alan Bartram, Bass
Alan Bartram is a bassist, vocalist, and closet guitarist. His mother taught him to sing and he learned to play the bass by listening to and watching other bassists. If he wasn’t a full-time musician, he would be a horticulturist. But, after graduating from college, he decided on a career in music and moved from Pennsylvania to Nashville. While playing with The Kenny and Amanda Smith Band, he also became an in-demand freelance musician both for touring and recording. Since 2005, Bartram has been the bassist for the Del McCoury band and is now also a member of The Travelin’ McCourys.
Jason Carter, Fiddle
Jason Carter was born February 1, 1973 in Ashland, Kentucky. He grew up in Greenup County. His dad started teaching him guitar when he was eight years old, and a few years later he started on mandolin. It was all he wanted to do.
Through his high school years, Carter was able to attend several bluegrass festivals, courtesy of his dad and uncle. He kept on trying to learn those Tony Rice guitar breaks, which were much more interesting then his biology homework! When he was 16 years old, he heard Del McCoury for the first time…and that’s when he picked up the fiddle.
The summer of 1991 brought a close to his high school years, and it was also the year he landed his first professional job. He worked six months for The Goins Brothers playing fiddle and traveling mostly on the East Coast. In February of 1992 The Goins Brothers played in Nashville with Del McCoury, and Carter asked him for a job. Two weeks later he was back in Nashville trying out. They played in Nashville, West Memphis, and Garland, TX and when they got home they told him that he had the job. He’s been with the band ever since.
Since then, Carter has relocated to Nashville and it’s been more than a dream come true for him. He feels very fortunate to be able to play with some of his musical heros and to travel the world playing bluegrass music.
Carter's interests besides his music include sports of any kind, gardening, and spending time at home with his wife. When asked what the best thing about being in The Del McCoury Band was he replied, “It’s hard to list only one thing. Of course the music, the friendships, playing in Europe and on the Grand Ole Opry, Jean’s cookin’!! But most of all standing on stage, watching Del sing and play his guitar.”
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