As soon as I read the words “Del McCoury releasing Bill Monroe tribute album” I knew it was going to be good. The album is called Old Memories: The Songs of Bill Monroe and is a collection of 16 Bill Monroe numbers - from the well-known to the obscure. (As a young man in the mid 1960’s Del McCoury played guitar and sang in Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys). This album comes fresh on the heels of April’s outstanding American Legacies, a collaboration between the Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band that is one of 2011’s best albums in any style of music. We can now add Old Memories to that growing list of the year’s best.
On Old Memories, Del has recorded some of his favorite Bill Monroe songs in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Big Mon’s birth. Standout tracks include “Lonesome Truck Driver’s Blues”, “Girl in the Blue Velvet Band”, “I’m Blue I’m Lonesome”, “Alabama Waltz”, “Heavy Traffic Ahead” and “My Rose of Old Kentucky” – all of which are bolstered by Del’s inspired singing and unusually prominent guitar work. Now in the twilight of his career and revered by traditionalists and jamgrassers alike, Del was recently inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame. So, perhaps unintentionally, Old Memories: The Songs Of Bill Monroe is not just a tribute to the Father of Bluegrass, but also a fitting tribute to the man who has fronted the best bluegrass band of the last two decades and counting – Mr. Del McCoury.
More information, including a full album stream, can be found on Del’s website: