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Del McCoury Band

The Cold Hard Facts – 1996 (Rounder)

Reviewed by George Hauenstein

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CDs by Del McCoury Band

Del McCoury is one of the top bluegrass artists on the scene today. Possessing a soulful tenor, he cut his musical teeth as a guitarist with Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys in the 1960's. He's had his own band ever since.

The International Bluegrass Music Association recently named him the Male Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. This album demonstrates his worthiness of these awards - it's clearly his best album to date. The current edition of the Del McCoury Band, the IBMA's Instrumental Group of the Year, includes sons Ronnie on mandolin and Rob on banjo, Mike Bub on bass, Jason Carter on fiddle. Co-producer Jerry Douglas adds dobro throughout the album.

The band is tight, the instrumentation and harmonies are top-notch. Songs range from traditional mountain tunes, 'Loggin' Man,' and country tunes, 'I'll Be There,' and Blackjack County Chains,' to pop covers, including Tom Petty's, 'Love is a Hard Road,' and Robert Cray's, 'Smokin' Gun.' The music is unmistakably bluegrass, yet the drive, the fresh presentation and the spirit are uniquely Del McCoury's. A must for bluegrass fans.