Songs of Love and Life – Del McCoury Band

It’s always a joyous occasion when The Del McCoury Band releases a new album. A living legend in bluegrass music, McCoury has done anything but rest on his laurels. Not only is the Del McCoury Band still actively touring, but they’re still creating and bringing new music to their countless loyal fans. Del’s latest effort, Songs of Love and Lifeis a collection that demonstrates his masterful ability at telling a story through song.

The opening track, If You Talk In Your Sleep, was first recorded by Elvis Presley in 1974. This song is a stunning demonstration of the high tenor voice that listeners have known and loved for decades. McCoury is of course backed by his sons Ronnie and Rob on mandolin and banjo respectively, Jason Carter on fiddle, and Alan Bartram on bass.

She’s Heavenly by Billy Smith and Chris Henry is a true standout. Featuring Molly Tuttle on lead and harmony vocals, this song speaks of one’s profound love for another. Once again the vocals are a strong component of this performance. Tuttle’s voice blends exceptionally well with Del and Ronnie.

Just Because by Lech Wierzynski is one of those songs that’s made for the Del McCoury Band. Originally recorded by Wierzynski’s band, The California Honeydrops, in 2013, it’s a brilliant example of Del taking a song from outside the bluegrass canon and molding it into something that is purely his own. Only The Lonely from the Roy Orbison catalogue is another wonderful example of this. This performance is especially well complemented by the piano work of Josh Shilling.

Legend of the Lost Confederate Gold, by Paula Breedlove and Mike Evans, tells the myth of the confederate gold that was stolen from Richmond, Virginia on the evening of May 24, 1865. This song allows Del to showcase his ability to serve as the narrator for a story song, especially one based around a legendary folktale such as this.

Two other tracks, Jimmie Rodgers Rode a Train and Working For The W.P.A. also hold historical backgrounds. The former written by Thomm Jutz and Charley Stefl, celebrates the life and career of the Singing Brakeman, while the latter by Mark Simos and Roger Brown, speaks of the agency that employed over millions of job seeking men to complete mostly jobs constructing roads and public buildings.

Del McCoury’s music has been influential to many over his long career. Having turned 85 in February of this year, it’s inspiring to see him further his legacy with new material in his distinctive style. Songs of Love and Life is a testament to Del’s continued staying power.

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About the Author

Braeden Paul

Braeden Paul has been involved in various capacities of bluegrass music. A Texas native, Paul has been part of several Dallas-based bands as a mandolinist. He also serves on the board of directors of the Southwest Bluegrass Club in Grapevine, TX. As a writer, Braeden has also contributed numerous music reviews to the Bluegrass Society of America Facebook page, and is the co-author of Texas Bluegrass History: High Lonesome on the High Plains.