Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 4 Reviews

Del McCoury Band
Sunday, Oct. 3, 4:05 p.m.
Banjo Stage
Reviewed by Mike Alexis

The only thing updated in Del McCoury's authentic bluegrass band is that they use two mics instead of one. They are the kings of feel-good, old-time music, dressed sharp and huddled close around those two mics. Bassist Mike Bub broke up the authentic look in a purple fleece, but since the weather was bitterly cold and he insisted he had a tie on underneath, it was real easy to forgive him. With Del's sons Ronnie on mandolin and Rob on banjo rounding out the band, they offered a long, strong set that included surprising number of requests.

They started with "Hill Crest Drive" an instrumental tune written by Ronnie that featured his fiercely picked mandolin solo. Ronnie also shined on Bill Monroe's "Body and Soul" with a high lonesome vocal turn. Next it was Mike Bub's turn to sing lead on "Luckiest Man 'Twas Born" a light-hearted mid-tempo song, which was followed by "Nashville Cats," a good-humored song about all the serious picker and wannabee stars that town possesses.

Del acknowledged that they had a few requests and he dedicated the first one, "I Wonder Where You Are Tonight," to Arhoolie Records president Chris Strachwitz, whom he recorded for in 1967 and was standing at the foot of the stage. Del broke a string on that one and impressively turned around and restrung in seconds. The next request was from a lucky lady in front asking for "I'm Afraid I Forgot the Feeling (That I Had for You)" which the band followed a few songs later with "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" the haunting Richard Thompson tune. After a little bit of tuning ("These guitars don't like cold weather," Del says), the band ended with what Del described as "a fast number" and he wasn't kidding. The encore was "All Aboard," yet another request, giving us way more than entertainment than we deserved.

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