McCoury, Del


  • From York, Pennsylvania. Currently lives in Nashville.
  • Began playing banjo at age 14.
  • 1963, played banjo with a Baltimore group, The Virginia Playboys.
  • 1963-1964, worked with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. Hired by Monroe to play guitar and sing lead, but McCoury didn’t even own a guitar. Monroe gave him two weeks to get one and learn to play—and he did.
  • 1964, moved to California to join The Golden State Boys with Vern Gosdin and Don Parmley; also worked with another California band, The Shady Valley Boys.
  • After California, moved back to North Carolina and worked in his father’s sawmill.
  • 1967, formed The Dixie Pals.
  • 1987, added sons Robbie and Ronnie to his band and they became The Del McCoury Band. First album with this group was Don’t Stop the Music (Rounder).
  • 1996, won his fourth IBMA Award for Male Vocalist of the Year (also won in 1990, 1991, 1992).
  • 1997-8, toured and recorded with country singer Steve Earle. They did one album together called Mountain.
  • 1998, appeared on CBS-TV special called “To Life: America Celebrates Israel’s 50th.” They played with a Klezmer band to show the similarities between traditional American music and traditional Israeli music. Also on the program: Stevie Wonder, Harry Connick, Jr., Natalie Cole, Michael Douglas, Kevin Costner.
  • 1998, recorded with Doc Watson and Mac Wiseman as the “GrooveGrass Boyz.”
  • 2001-2, toured with the “Down from the Mountain” tour.
  • 2002, won the IBMA award for Song of the Year (“1952 Vincent Black Lightning”)
  • 2003, after a national tour with Leftover Salmon, his newly acquired fans became known as “DelHeads.”
  • 2003, was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 2004, won his ninth IBMA Award for Entertainer of the Year (he also won in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003).
  • 2006, Del began doing a weekly show on Sirius Satellite Radio called “Hand Picked.”
  • 2008, he began producing his own music festival called DelFest.
  • 2009, his band members formed a progressive group called The Traveling McCoury’s.
  • 2011, collaborated with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band for an album called American Legacies and several concert appearances.
  • 2013, a stretch of Highway 261 in Mitchell County North Carolina (north of Bakersville) was named “The Del McCoury Highway.”
  • 2019, won the IBMA Award for Album of the Year (“Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass”).