Born in 1939 in York County, Pennsylvania, Del McCoury first became interested in bluegrass music when he heard Earl Scruggs' banjo playing in the early 1950s. McCoury began performing with various bands in the 1960s, playing throughout the Washington, DC and Baltimore area.
McCoury eventually came to the attention of the legendary Bill Monroe and joined his band, the Blue Grass Boys, in 1963. It was Monroe, the "Father of Bluegrass" who switched McCoury from banjo to guitar and first recognized that McCoury's distinctive tenor was well suited for lead vocals.
Despite his growing career, McCoury returned to Pennsylvania in the mid-1960s to provide steady support for his growing family. While working in the logging industry, he formed his own band, the Dixie Pals. For the next decade and a half, McCoury piloted the group through a part-time career of weekend appearances at bluegrass festivals and recordings for both specialty and roots music institutions like Arhoolie and Rounder Records.
In 1981, McCoury's 14-year-old son Ronnie joined the Dixie Pals as mandolin player, followed five years later by banjo-playing younger brother Rob. In 1992, the group moved to Nashville. Armed with a relationship with Rounder Records and a few young members, the newly-named Del McCoury Band vaulted to the top of the bluegrass world.
By the second half of the 1990s, the Del McCoury Band was engaging in onstage jams with diverse bands such as Phish and performing on the road and in the studio with Steve Earle. The group also appeared on prime time television, began an ongoing series of visits to popular late night TV talk shows, toured rock clubs and college campuses, and performed at country and even jazz-oriented music festivals and venues. In 1996, the Del McCoury Band had their largest success to date with Cold Hard Facts, which spent seven months at the top of the bluegrass charts and earned a Grammy nomination.
McCoury and his band have recorded 16 albums and in 2006 won a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album for The Company We Keep. Named Male Vocalist of the Year for three consecutive years and winner of nine Entertainer of the Year awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association, McCoury has remained a nimble, inventive guitarist whose penetrating voice and compelling singing style serve as a bridge between the original generation of bluegrass artists and today's contemporary players.
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Sample: "Beauty of My Dreams"
Sample: "Good Man Like Me"