The annual returning musicians and industry leaders from the International Bluegrass Community (IBMA) gathered again in Raleigh, North Carolina last week to celebrate and reward the best songs, albums and players of the year. Recognized once again for his dynamic and instantly recognizable voice that lent a high and lonely heart to more than 30 records during his six-decade career, Del McCoury was crowned Male Vocalist of the Year for the fifth time. This is McCoury’s 19th IBMA award to date, now the most awarded artist title in bluegrass history.
As with most things McCoury, it’s all in the family. Cody Kilby, guitarist for The Travelin’ McCourys (founded by his sons Rob and Ronnie, and longtime bandmates Del McCoury, Jason Carter and Alan Bartram), has been named Guitarist of the Year for the first time in his career.
Widely regarded as a genre architect and hugely supportive of next generation pickers, McCoury’s influence and impact has been felt across all categories of this year’s awards, and certainly at the World of Bluegrass music festival. following the conference, which tens of thousands of music fans around the world travel to attend. He first appeared on the bluegrass scene in 1963 playing with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. In the 1980s he found success as a frontman and began performing with his sons Rob and Ronnie McCoury (also founding members of The Travelin’ McCourys), settling in Nashville. His influence and tastes are as diverse and varied as the queues at his namesake festival DelFest – having collaborated with Phish, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Steve Earle and countless others expected and unexpected.
At 83, McCoury refuses to slow down and why would he? Playing music with his family — and friends who feel like family — to loving, grateful fans continues to keep the bluegrass patriarch young. The DMB Tour continues with tour dates from mid-October through mid-November this year, while planning DelFest 2023 which takes place annually over Memorial Day weekend in beautiful Cumberland, MD. A full list of remaining tour dates for 2022 is below. For more information on DelFest 2023, please visit www.delfest.com.
October 14 – Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que – Grovetown, GA
October 15 – Bloomin’ Bluegrass – Farmers Branch, TX
October 21 – Sellersville Theater – Sellersville, Pennsylvania
October 22 – Rams Head – Hammondsport, NY (co-project with The Travelin’ McCourys)
November 10 – Walhalla Performing Arts Center – Walhalla, SC
November 11 – Renfro Valley Barn Dance – Mount Vernon, KY
November 12 – Industrial Strength Bluegrass – Wilmington, OH
November 13 – Library Theater – Hoover, AL