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DelFest Sessions: The Travelin’ McCourys

Jun 19, 2024


DelFest is known as a family reunion – literally, and figuratively. BGS videographers and contributors I Know We Should were on hand at this year’s festival, held over Memorial Day weekend in Cumberland, Maryland, to capture exclusive DelFest Sessions featuring some of the many luminaries on the festival lineup.

To launch the series we have an apropos first act, the Travelin’ McCourys, reigning IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year and the backing band for Grammy-winning living legend, Del McCoury, who founded and hosts the annual event nestled in the Appalachian Mountains along the Potomac River. With West Virginia just across the river’s banks, the band – including Del’s sons Ronnie McCoury and Rob McCoury, as well as Alan Bartram, Jason Carter, and Cody Kilby – performed three incredible songs highlighting their instrumental and vocal virtuosity and bursting with full-bore bluegrass energy.

The first, “Why Do I Feel Like Running,” kicks with Rob on grizzly, low-tuned banjo and features Carter’s equally deep and sultry vocal. If you think you recognize the tune, it’s because you do; the Travelin’ McCourys are known for their excellent cover songs and this number is their grassy innovation on a Montgomery Gentry track.

For their second selection, Bartram steps up to the microphone to sing “Lonely Night,” while festival-goers float by on the North Branch of the Potomac in the background. This band knows how to lean into iconic lonesome and “modal” bluegrass stylings, lending a perfectly haunting tone to the lyrics.

To round out their mini set for our DelFest Session, the Travelin’ McCourys called on Kilby for an instrumental original pulled from his 2008 album, Many Roads Traveled. To the delight of the campers and fans gathered in the shade to watch the taping, the band kicks into high gear for the second half of the tune, illustrating why they’ve taken home two Instrumental Group of the Year trophies from IBMA in the past few years.

Stay tuned as we debut new DelFest Sessions weekly right here on BGS over the next few weeks. And, make plans to visit Cumberland, Maryland and DelFest in 2025.

Video Credit: Brad Wagner, I Know We Should
Drone Footage: Christopher Weist
Audio Credit: Juan Soria, I Know We Should

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DelFest Sessions: The Travelin' McCourys
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