Del McCoury Band – The Barns at Wolf Trap in Virginia – Review and Photos of Night One

Photos by Mark Raker & Review by Dan Rozman

On Thursday, January 19th the Del McCoury Band started a three-night sold out show run at the Barns at Wolf Trap in Virginia. This was the first time Del has played out “since I don’t know when.” He claimed he was out of practice but the audience would disagree. 84-year-old Del, who The Washington Post called aworld class tenor and National Treasure, range is still incredible. We were treated to a mix of old and new McCoury songs as well as songs from other artists like Hank Williams, Bobby Osborn, Gibson Brothers, Albert Brumley, and Richard Thompson. It has been a busy few years for the band.  The Del McCoury Band released their new album Almost Proud last February. Jason Carter released Lowdown Hoedown near the end of 2022. 

The 19 song show began at 8 PM with “Dry My Tears And Move On.”  When seeing the Del McCoury Band you get to enjoy not only a great concert but also stories about some of the songs they play and about the history of Bluegrass. In one of the stories, Del talked about when he opened for Jerry Lee Lewis in the 60’s. Making the night more special, to honor Dolly Parton’s birthday they played “I Feel the Blues Movin’ In” which McCoury wrote. 

As with every concert, they performed songs highlighting each member’s musical talents. This allowed us to enjoy solos from Ronnie McCoury (Mandolin), Ron McCoury (Banjo), Jason Carter (Fiddle) and Alan Bartram (Bass). Another unique thing about a Del McCoury Band show is that they don’t follow a set list. About nine songs into the show they started playing requests shouted out by the audience; including “Milwaukee” which Del described as a song about beer, “Queen Anne’s Lace”, “Sweet Appalachia” and others.

The last song before the encore was “All Aboard.” When they sang the lines “and the train keeps rolling, and the world keeps turning. All aboard, all aboard, everybody’s gotta get on board”, it was clear that everyone was on the McCoury train. The show ended with a wonderful rendition of 1952 Vincent Black Lightning and the crowd showed their appreciation with a round of applause fitting for such a magical night. 

The Barns at Wolf Trap was the ideal location to see the band and it was clear that they enjoyed the concert as much as the audience. . The acoustics are excellent in these converted barns, which are owned and operated by Wolf Trap Foundation (which is committed to creating an artistic lineup as diverse and discerning as the audiences that attend year-round.)

The next time that the Del McCoury Band will be in the greater DMV area will be DelFest, May 25-28, 2023. This Family friendly festival, in Cumberland, MD, is one not to be missed.

The other 2 nights of the run recorded by Alex Leary can be heard here:

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