Del McCoury, his sons and the other two members of The Del McCoury band entered the stage in Memorial Hall to thunderous applause Friday.
The group, an old-timey traditional string band featuring an acoustic guitar, an upright bass, a banjo, a mandolin and a fiddle, played a wide variety of songs, from high-energy bluegrass tunes to slow, sad ballads like “I’ll Break Out Again Tonight.”
McCoury’s vocals were twangy and, at times, difficult to understand due to his thick Southern accent, but he sang well throughout the show.
McCoury was entertaining between songs, as well. As a well-known, seasoned country musician, McCoury was also able to regale the audience with stories about his encounters with legendary figures in country music like Woody Guthrie and Earl Scruggs. Not afraid to laugh at himself, he repeatedly joked about his age, complaining to the audience that he couldn’t read his teleprompter.
The band used the first eight songs of the concert to introduce each member of the group. For example, McCoury introduced his son, Rob McCoury, the group’s banjo player, before a song featuring a very difficult banjo solo. McCoury said his son calls his banjo a “5-string flame thrower,” and that he can sometimes see sparks flying from his fingertips when the group plays in the dark.