The Del McCoury Band Returns to The Barns

The Del McCoury Band Returns to The Barns
Dec 11, 2023

You’ll be hard pressed to find a bluegrass enthusiast who doesn’t know the name Del McCoury. After all, he’s a nine-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award and a two-time Grammy winner for Best Bluegrass Album—not to mention a frequent Wolf Trap performer. He’ll bring his practiced pickin’ to The Barns for five nights this January!  

Beyond the accolades, there’s a whole lot more to Del McCoury. Here are some facts you might not know about him and his band! 

From Humble Beginnings to Bluegrass Greatness 

Del McCoury knows what it’s like to earn a “Working Man’s Wage”—also a song from his latest release Almost Proud (2022). 

McCoury was raised on a farm and one of his first jobs was driving a dump truck. After spending a year with Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys as lead singer and guitarist, McCoury moved back to his hometown of York, PA with his wife. While raising a family, he worked various day jobs, including at a sawmill, logging company, and nuclear power plant. 

He’d get his music fix by playing weekend gigs around Pennsylvania; Washington, DC; and Baltimore, MD. His big break wouldn’t come until 1992 when his family and band moved to Nashville. 

It’s a Family Affair 

For a band that’s been around for 55+ years, the membership has remained remarkably steady. McCoury started the band with his brother Jerry on bass. McCoury’s two sons Ronnie and Rob joined the band in the ’80s as mandolinist and banjoist. Fiddler Jason Carter joined in 1992, and they found their long-term bassist, Alan Bartram, to complete the line-up in 2005. Almost 20 years later, the quintet is still going strong. 

Bonus fact: Inspired by raising his own family, Ronnie recorded a bluegrass album for kids, Little Mo’ McCoury, in 2007. 

Numerous performances with Wolf Trap Artists 

Both Del McCoury and Wolf Trap keep their fingers on the pulse of bluegrass. Take a look at past line-ups of DelFest—the band’s annual bluegrass festival in Cumberland, MD—and Wolf Trap’s former bluegrass and Americana artists, and you’ll find over a dozen connections. 

Some recent Wolf Trap artists they have performed alongside include summer 2023 artists Gov’t Mule, Béla Fleck, Aoife O’Donovan, Chris Thile and Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek, and The Avett Brothers. They’ve also shared stages with some of The Barns’ 2023 artists, including Steep Canyon Rangers, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Sam Bush.  

The Del McCoury Band has appeared at Wolf Trap over a dozen times! 

In 1993, The Del McCoury Band made their Wolf Trap debut, performing at the Filene Center as part of Ricky Skaggs’ Pickin’ Party. Since then, they would play the Filene Center twice more in An Evening with the Grand Ole Opry (2005) and with the Vince Gill Friends & Family Tour (2007). The band has also performed at The Barns an impressive number of times over the years, with their first Barns show in 1996. They’ll make their next appearance this January for an unprecedented 5-night residency. 

Don’t miss your chance to see five nights of unique sets by The Del McCoury Band—including open floor general admission shows on the weekend—when they return to The Barns on January 17-21

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