Daily DELights from DelFest ’22 – Day 2

Béla Fleck at DelFest 2022 – photo by Marc Shapiro Media

Here are few DELights from DelFest 2022, Day 2, to give you a flavor of this fabulous fest in Cumberland, Maryland:

The Man, the Myth, the One and Only Del McCoury.

No one else compares. He is why we are all here. His magnetic personality. His place in bluegrass history. His patriarchal seat in the genre we all love so much. His grin. His fabulous white tuft. His fun-loving nature. His meticulous guitar playing. His unique, beckoning voice. Del McCoury and his uber-talented band showed us how it is done and what it is all about on Day 2 of his namesake festival.  

Del and the boys’ crisp, clean playing matched their crisp, clean suits. What a refreshing sight to see them dressed so fancy; the rest of us still damp and speckled in mud from the earlier showers. The Del McCoury Band threw down some soul-shivering Gospel and some straight up bluegrass. One of the most fun parts of their one and half hours of good, clean, fun show was Del taking requests from the audience. It doesn’t get much cooler than that!

Take a gander at the pics. Sure looks like they know how to have fun on stage! And, we all sure did listening to them!

My Wonderfully Drenched Bluegrass Heart

Béla and his gang of greatness graced the stage and our hearts with rousing renditions of tunes from his Grammy-winning My Bluegrass Heart album. This iteration of his band brought us Michael Cleveland, Cody Kilby, Jacob Joliff, Justin Moses, and Mark Schatz. And, as if that wasn’t enough bluegrass energy to power the valley, Béla’s bluegrass brother, Jerry Douglas, joined in for the power surge. Enough electricity then, in fact, that the clouds burst and the rains streamed down. It was magnificent. No one flinched. All eyes remained affixed to the master and his talented troupe on stage.  Cool to see banjo players from other DelFest bands among the glued.

Béla’s new My Bluegrass Heart numbers, such as Vertigo, Baptist Pumpkin Farm, and Slippery Eel, got the masses dancing in the downpour. Béla’s classic, moving masterpiece, Big Country, which he played on John Hartford’s banjo, marked a monumental moment where we in the crowd turned our faces towards the heavens, received the rain on the face, felt our bluegrass hearts swell, and thanked the good Lord above for bluegrass, itself.

Landslide in Laurel Canyon

Whosever idea it was, it was brilliant. Mid-afternoon in the DelFest Music Hall, there was a Return to Laurel Canyon with Eric and Leigh Gibson, and Dre Anders and Friends (who included Frank Solivan, Cody Kilby, Justin Moses, and more). Wow. Just wow. What a collaboration!

These pros took us on a lovely journey through Laurel Canyon, performing classics from the gems of that enchanting time. They provided unbelievable grassified renditions of Close Your Eyes by James Taylor and These Days by Jackson Browne. Dre’s voice is so soulful and exquisite and the Gibson Brothers’ vocals are always spot-on. A highlight talked about long after the show subsided was Dre’s daughter joining her on stage to sing Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide. Not a dry eye in the house for that one. Come to find out after, even some of the performers were tearing up onstage! That show was just downright heartwarming. Thanks for it!

Photos by Marc Shapiro Media and J Strausser Visuals.

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About the Author

Jen Hughes

Jen Hughes is a devoted bluegrass enthusiast. An Upstate New York native who resides in Washington, D.C., Jen attends shows in and around the Nation’s capital, a bluegrass haven. She also makes the trek to as many festivals as possible each year. The sweet sounds of New Grass Revival took hold of her in high school and she has studied up on the genre backwards and forwards since then. Her hope is to get even more people hooked as she is on bluegrass music and its extraordinary artists and community.