Delano Floyd McCoury (born February 1, 1939 in York, Pennsylvania) is an American bluegrass musician. As leader of the Del McCoury Band, he plays guitar and sings lead vocals along with his two sons, Ronnie McCoury and Rob McCoury, who play mandolin and...
Delano Floyd McCoury (born February 1, 1939 in York, Pennsylvania) is an American bluegrass musician. As leader of the Del McCoury Band, he plays guitar and sings lead vocals along with his two sons, Ronnie McCoury and Rob McCoury, who play mandolin and banjo respectively. In June 2010, he received a National Heritage Fellowship lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2011 he was elected into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
McCoury has had a long career in bluegrass. Although originally hired as banjo player, he sang lead vocals and played rhythm guitar for Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in 1963, with whom he first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. McCoury briefly appeared with the Golden State Boys in 1964 before taking a series of day jobs in construction and logging, while continuing to work as an amateur musician in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
In the 1980s his sons began performing with him. Fiddler Tad Marks and bass player Mike Brantley joined McCoury's group in early 1990s. McCoury's group toured widely throughout the US. They relocated to Nashville, Tennessee as they began to attract attention. Fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Mike Bub joined in 1992. Alan Bartram joined the band as bassist in 2005. McCoury became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in October 2003.
McCoury was also one of many performers at The Clearwater Concert at Madison Square Garden on May 3, 2009. The event celebrated the 90th birthday of Pete Seeger.
McCoury has influenced a great number of bands, including Phish, with whom he has shared the stage several times, and who have covered his songs. He has also performed with The String Cheese Incident and Donna the Buffalo, and recorded with Steve Earle. McCoury has covered songs by artists as diverse as The Lovin' Spoonful, Tom Petty, and Richard Thompson. McCoury has appeared at festivals including Bonnaroo, High Sierra, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and the Newport Folk Festival. His television appearances include Late Night with Conan O'Brien and the Late Show with David Letterman. Del has a very enthusiastic fan base, known as the Del-Heads.
In October 2009, The Del McCoury Band began offering fans recordings of their performances on USB flash drives available immediately after their concerts.
In June 2010, McCoury received a lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts in the field of folk and traditional arts, including a stipend of $25,000.
In 2012, he joined the 11th annual Independent Music Awards judging panel to assist independent musicians' careers.
In 2008, Del McCoury started DelFest, an annual bluegrass festival in Cumberland, Maryland, held at the Allegany County Fairgrounds. Del McCoury Band plays every night at each of the festivals.
The 5th annual DelFest occurred in May 2012, and major bluegrass acts played such as Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Infamous Stringdusters, Railroad Earth, Bela Fleck, and Sam Bush, most of which had returned from previous years at the festival.
In previous years, acts such Peter Rowan, David Grisman, Jesse McReynolds, The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Trampled by Turtles, Greensky Bluegrass, and Psychograss have played.