REVIEW: Travelin’ McCourys’ New Release Makes Room For Everyone to Shine


You surely recognize the McCoury name, if not the Travelin’ McCourys.  Prior to this self-titled album, they had one release, Pick, in 2012, with Keller Williams.  Don’t let that fool you. This band for has been around for a long time, backing bluegrass legend Del McCoury since the ’80s.  Made up of Del’s sons Ronnie (lead and harmony vocals/mandolin) and Rob (banjo), Jason Carter (fiddle/lead harmony vocals), Alan Bartram (upright bass/lead harmony vocals), and Cody Kilby (guitar), the Travelin’ McCourys are a tight, experienced quintet with smooth harmonies and flawless musicianship.  The Travelin’ McCourys may be the band’s first proper album, but this is a distinguished, veteran effort. The Travelin’ McCourys demonstrates that Del McCoury’s legacy is in excellent hand with his sons.

At fourteen tracks, the Travelin’ McCourys is a hearty serving of music.  If this was pasta, this wouldn’t be fourteen small seashell noodles; this would be fourteen stuffed shells.  At a guess, I would say the tracks average about four minutes.

Because of streaming, artists are making shorter songs and longer albums – more songs. Streaming pays per song play, so shorter songs, and more songs, increase an artist’s payoff.  Song quality suffers, and the listener loses out. Not all artists, however, are doing this. The Travelin’ McCourys have clearly refused to compromise the listener experience, making room for all the players and their instruments to shine, to use everyone’s talents, and to produce the very best record.

The band made an eclectic and incredibly fun selection of songs for this album.  In addition to six originals, they cover two Grateful Dead tunes, and one by Doc Watson.  At the same time traditional and progressive, the record strikes both grounded and psychedelic bluegrass moods.  Accessible to anyone with a passing curiosity in bluegrass, this superior effort showcases the subtlety, variety, traditions, and new directions in American popular string music.  Give it a listen, and get your copy, here.    To read about the Travelin’ McCourys with Peter Rowan, click one of these bolded words right here.

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