Updated 2/16/18 @ 9:13pm to include additional details about the McCoury family's plan for a new festival, courtesy of Cumberland Times News (You can read that full article HERE)...
When the Travelin' McCourys were live on 91.9 WFPK, an independent radio station out of Louisville, KY this afternoon, it didn't take DJ, Laura Shine long to ask Ronnie McCoury how his dad, Del was doing. Ronnie let her know that Del was currently in Cumberland, MD "saying 'hello' to the folks and announcing that we're going to have another festival in the area in the fall (early Fall next year, according to Cumberland Times News)."
When asked if it would be called DelFest 2, Ronnie said, "I'm not exactly sure what they're going to call it, but, uh it's going to be more of like a beer, food, & music fest." That really sounds like something I can get behind! According to reporting by Cumberland Times News (article HERE), the festival will be a global theme, with music, beer, and food from around the world. According to the McCourys' manager, Stan Strickland, the new festival was the brainchild of High Sierra Music's Roy Carter. Just like DelFest, he envisions a family event, but wants this two-day festival to spread out from the Fairgrounds to Downtown Cumberland. I imagine we'll be hearing more details as the festival plans start to come together.
Ronnie also let us know that the Travelin' McCourys just got finished mixing their studio album this week. That's fantastic news for all of us who have been waiting SOOO very patiently! He said that he hopes the yet-to-be-named album will be available in about 3 months. By my math, they're hoping to have it ready for DelFest 11 over Memorial Day Weekend (purchase your tickets here). Let's hope that's the case. I can't wait to give the full album a listen.
A recent photo that Ronnie had posted on the Travelin' McCourys' Facebook page (seen below) prompted the interviewer to ask Ronnie about the time he sold Jerry Garcia a couple banjos in the early 90's; a deal apparently brokered by the great David Grisman. When Jerry invited Del (who had met Garcia in 1972, but hadn't seen him since), Ronnie, and Robbie McCoury to the Capital Centre in Washington, DC to close the sale, they ended up hanging out with Garcia for about an hour and a half after their sound check. Ronnie remembered fondly Jerry Garcia looking over to Robbie and him saying, "You know, your dad was a big inspiration to me when I started."
According to Ronnie, Del McCoury was responsible for introducing a local Baltimore song called "Dark Hollow" to the bluegrass world in 1963 when he played with Bill Monroe in his band, the Blue Grass Boys; a band Jerry Garcia had seen play live. "Dark Hollow" later became part of the Grateful Dead catalog. Ronnie proudly suspects that his dad played a part in bringing that song to the Grateful Dead's attention.
Ronnie also spoke about an interaction that his wife (Allison McCoury) had reminded him about. He said that since they came from the world of requests (common in bluegrass music), he didn't think twice about asking Jerry if the band would play "Rain & Snow," an old mountain song, which Del had played in the early 1970's and which the Grateful Dead recorded (as "Cold Rain & Snow") on their 1967 studio album "The Grateful Dead" and first debuted live at Magoo's Pizza in Menlo Park, CA on 5/5/1965. Ronnie said that it was the first song they played when they went on stage that night, but thanks to a little help from his wife, Allison, I was able to figure out that it was actually the 2nd song they played. They opened up the show that night (3/20/1991) with "Feel Like a Stranger" before going into "Cold Rain & Snow."
You can listen to that complete show from the Capital Centre in Landover, MD HERE:
Archive.org - Grateful Dead | Capital Centre | Landover, MD | 3/20/1991
Here is the Facebook live video of the entire interview, including performances of "Cumberland Blues" and "Let Her Go."
Big thanks to Allison McCoury for sharing these photos with us!
The Travelin' McCourys are on tour now, and you won't want to miss them!
CLICK HERE for a list of tour dates and to purchase tickets.