Del McCoury Band | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Del McCoury Band 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

DEL MCCOURY BAND

With the recent passing of Bill Monroe, the undisputed father of bluegrass, it's hard not to view Del McCoury--who played and sang in Monroe's band in the 60s--as the music's most vital living proponent. Most modern bluegrass artists have opted either for post-Alison Krauss airbrushed gloss or post-Bela Fleck wankery, but McCoury has managed to stay moored to the tradition without coming off as a moldy old fig. On his superb new album, The Cold Hard Facts (Rounder), McCoury even transforms Tom Petty's sulky "Love Is a Long Road" into a searing, ebullient breakdown. Most of the time, however, McCoury sticks with solid originals or classic bluegrass and country material, such as a winning romp through the Ray Price hit "I'll Be There." All five members of the band--his sons Rob and Ronnie on banjo and mandolin, Jason Carter on fiddle, Mike Bub on bass, and Del on guitar--were each recently nominated as instrumentalists in International Bluegrass Music Awards (an unprecedented achievement), but there's no indulgent flashiness heard in the music. The band's most valuable instrument is without a doubt Del McCoury's high lonesome voice. It drips with vulnerability, quavering on the sad songs and threatening to break apart with joy on the upbeat numbers. If there's a contemporary group that can change the minds of nonbelievers it's this one. Also performing are sturdy bluegrass vets the Osborne Brothers. Saturday, 7 and 10 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 909 W. Armitage; 773-525-7793.

PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/ Jim McGuire.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Peter Margasak

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories