Member Since 2003
When Delano Floyd McCoury was young, his family relocated from North Carolina to just north of the Mason Dixon Line in York County, Pennsylvania. Del’s older brother, G.C., introduced the young boy to bluegrass through the music of Flatt & Scruggs. Before long, he had taken up the banjo, and by the early 1960s he was playing bluegrass in the honky-tonks of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area.
In 1963, Del made his first Grand Ole Opry appearances when he was recruited by Bill Monroe to join his Blue Grass Boys. Though he was hired as a banjo player, Monroe soon made him into a guitar player and lead singer, and when he left the band the following year, Del continued to play those roles—first during a brief stint in California with the Golden State Boys, and then back in Pennsylvania with his own band, the Dixie Pals.
For the next quarter of a century, Del was a part-time musician, working as a logging truck driver to support his growing family while playing at bluegrass festivals on the weekends. Though he couldn’t devote himself entirely to his music, his reputation as a singer of unsurpassed intensity grew steadily.
Del’s son Ronnie began playing with the band on a part-time basis in 1981 at age 13. Six years later, Robbie McCoury made his debut with the band, and at the beginning of the 1990s, Del and his family moved to Nashville to pursue music full-time as the Del McCoury Band. With Mike Bub on bass and Jason Carter on fiddle, the group quickly developed into one of the finest units to ever grace a bluegrass stage, and by the end of the decade they had become the top winner at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s annual awards.
Throughout the ’90s and into the new millennium, the Del McCoury Band has embodied the best qualities of bluegrass. In 2003, the band debuted their own record label, McCoury Music, with the release of the Grammy-nominated It’s Just the Night. And just months later, while accepting a record-setting eighth IBMA Entertainer of the Year Award, Del received the invitation he had waited for his entire life: to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Today, the Del McCoury Band enjoys the praise of traditional bluegrass lovers and tie-dyed clad “Del-Heads” alike. Their current dates range from performing arts centers to hardcore bluegrass festivals to hip, youth-oriented “jamfests” such as Bonnaroo and High Sierra, spreading the bluegrass gospel wherever they go. Del has proven not to be a relic of bluegrass music’s past, but an architect of its future.