Congratulations must surely to The Travelin’ McCourys on their Grammy win for Best Bluegrass Album, announced today in Los Angeles, California. The band’s eponymous debut album was released on 25th May of last year. After several decades of playing, touring and performing the Grammy award points to the band members’ work ethic and their innovative style of bluegrass which honours the genre’s tradition and drives it forward.
In the acceptance speech Rob McCoury thanked Del and Jean McCoury, saying “without them, none of this would have happened.” And it’s true; few, if any, have blazed a musical path for their children the way Del has. Taking the torch, the Travelin’ McCourys have proven that not only are they worthy; they’re comfortable blazing a trail of their own.
The McCoury brothers, Ronnie on mandolin and Rob on banjo, were born into the bluegrass tradition. Talk about a source abundant and pure; their father, Del, is among the most influential and successful musicians in the history of the genre. Years on the road with Dad in Del McCoury Band honed their knife-edge chops and encouraged the duo to imagine how traditional bluegrass could cut innovative pathways into 21st-century music.
With fiddler Jason Carter, bassist Alan Bartram, and latest recruit Cody Kilby on guitar, they assembled a group that could take what they had in their DNA, take what traditions they learned and heard, and push the music forward. In fact, the band became the only group to have each of its members recognised with an International Bluegrass Music Association Award for their instrument at least once. There were peers, too, that could see the McCourys’ brand of bluegrass as both historic and progressive. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, The Allman Brothers Band, improv-rock kings Phish, and jamband contemporary Keller Williams were just a few that formed a mutual admiration society with the ensemble. The members of Travelin’ McCourys who also share duties in Del McCoury Band have now won three Grammy awards including Del’s two previous wins for Best Bluegrass Album. This win brings Cody Kilby’s Grammy Awards total to five after four wins during his time in Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.
The Travelin’ McCourys is a brilliantly executed set overflowing with inventive style, stellar musicianship, and, of course, plenty of burnin’ grass, the 14-song collection is a true culmination of their decades-long journey. From the headwaters of Bill Monroe and the waves of Jerry Garcia to a sound both rooted and revolutionary, soulful and transcending that belongs only to the Travelin’ McCourys.
The album definitely shows what we’ve evolved into as a band. And, it’s a pretty good representation of what’s happening with the whole genre. The old bluegrass material is something I love but it’s been done many times. We’re forging ahead with our own sound. That’s what you have to do to make it all work – Ronnie McCoury.
On Feb.13th, The Travelin’ McCourys will celebrate Del McCoury’s 80th birthday at the “Grand DEL Opry” alongside Marty Stuart, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Vince Gill, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dierks Bentley, and more. After the Opry, the band hits the road for a headlining tour including a number of The Grateful Ball dates (with Jeff Austin Band). Festival-wise, catch the band at Winter WonderGrass, DelFest, High Sierra Music Festival, ROMP, Rhythm & Roots, and more.
Listen to the Grammy winning album here.
For more information on The Travelin’ McCourys, please visit their website.
- February 13 – Nashville, TN – Grand DEL Opry
- February 22 – Panama City Beach, FL – Bourbon, Beer, & Butts
- February 23 – Huntsville, AL – Tangled String Studios (early & late show)
- February 27 – Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room**
- February 28 – Springfield, MO – Outland Ballroom**
- March 1 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar**
- March 2 – Cincinnati, OH – Memorial Hall OTR**
- March 3 – Ferndale, MI – Otus Supply
- March 5 – Benton Harbor, MI – The Livery**
- March 6 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom & Tavern**
- March 7 – Bloomington, IN – The Bluebird Nightclub**
- March 29-31 – Olympic Valley, CA – Winter Wondergrass
**with Jeff Austin Band; together presenting The Grateful Ball