February 1 is shaping up to be a big day in the bluegrass world. This year will mark the 80th birthday of Del McCoury on that date, a man who has given us more great bluegrass music than almost anyone we could mention, and continues to do so into his 8th decade.
We have a special feature planned for that day, and Joe Mullins is also releasing a new single on the 1st, a duet between Joe and Del on The Guitar Song. It was written and initially recorded in 2010 by country artists Bill Anderson, Jamey Johnson, and Vickie McGehee. On their cut, it was a discussion between two guitars hanging in a pawnshop, but Joe has rearranged it as a banjo and a guitar. Del sings the part of the guitar, while Joe takes on the banjo in their new version. Should be fun.
But the biggest celebration for Del comes on February 13 when the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville celebrates his 80th with a special Wednesday night concert they are calling Grand Del Opry. McCoury will perform with his band, with guest appearances from Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, and Vince Gill. The Travelin’ McCoury’s will also be on the show, which is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are available now online, starting at $45 each.
Del has been an Opry member since 2003, but first played on their stage in 1963 as a member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. What a fine way to note his long and fruitful career next month.
It is not clear at this point whether the Grand Del Opry concert will be broadcast live on WSM, or live streamed from the Opry web site.