Like the royalty he is—at least in the bluegrass kingdom—Del McCoury apparently has an entourage precede him into town these days. His band—sons Ronnie on mandolin and Rob on banjo, plus fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram—was here a week or so ago under the guise of The Travelin' McCourys. Now they're back with Del at the helm, arguably the best traditional bluegrass band in the business, combining superlative picking all around, classic close-harmony vocals, and top-notch songs. And topping it all off are Del's indomitable spirit and marvelous vocals, which negotiate bluegrass's high, lonesome frontier while ranging from tenor to soaring falsetto. Last fall's Family Circle (McCoury Music) is another accomplished addition to the extensive McCoury catalog, ranging from a sparkling declaration of identity ("Sweet Appalachia") to a playful, rock 'n' grass run through Charlie Rich's "Break Up." In between is a touch of gospel, songs about moonshine and heartache, and inspired arrangements of tunes from Shawn Camp, Mark Knopfler, and Johnny Mercer.
Thu., March 18, 7 p.m., 2010