Del McCoury and his talented sons, Ronnie and Rob, have long done their music together. As soon as the boys were old enough to tour with dad, Del added them to his award-winning Del McCoury Band. Now they not only accompany him on his shows, they also have their own band, The Travelin’ McCourys, and their own Grammy Award to show for it.
And the only difference between the two acts is Del. As the Del McCoury Band, it is Del on guitar and lead vocals, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin, Rob McCoury on banjo, Jason Carter on fiddle, and Alan Bartram on bass. When they are The Travelin’ McCourys, Cody Kilby steps into Del’s shoes on guitar.
Well… there is also a difference in song selection. When it is the Del McCoury Band, the focus is on his many bluegrass classics and his singular singing style. The Travelin’ McCourys stick with the driving bluegrass sound, but include songs and sets that appeal to a younger, jamband sort of audience.
But the family sticks together. This week, both groups have new singles, and they have been released together by McCoury Music.
First up is Del, with his version of She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye, a hit for Jerry Lee Lewis in 1969. It’s a mournful country ballad given the inimitable Del McCoury touch. Who can resist a heartbroken tearjerker gone full bluegrass?
For The Travelin’ McCourys it’s Passin’ Thru, one they have been performing on stage for some time. It’s a cover of a song written by Johnny Cash and Randy Scruggs, originally recorded on the Earl Scruggs and Friends album in 2001. There it was sung by Cash and Don Henley, and here Ronnie McCoury takes the lead as his fellow travelers speed things up a good bit from the Scruggs cut.
Both singles are available now wherever you stream or download music online, just in time for Christmas.