BMI’s database credits Del McCoury with 38 published compositions, co-compositions, and arrangements. A few of his original songs and collaborations are:

  • “Beauty of My Dreams”
  • “Blue Piece of Paper:
  • “I Feel the Blues Movin’ In”
  • “Rain Please Go Away”
  • “Take Me In Chains”
  • “You’ve Got the Look of a Perfect Diamond”

Early Influences

  • Hazel McCoury (mother)
  • Grover C. “G. C.” McCoury (brother)
  • Flatt & Scruggs
  • Bill Monroe
  • Keith Daniels

Came to Fame With

  • Del McCoury & the Dixie Pals, 1969-1989

Performed With

  • Stevens Brothers, c. 1958
  • Keith Daniels & the Blue Ridge Ramblers, c. 1959-1962
  • Melvin Howell & the Franklin County Boys, 1962
  • Jack Cooke & the Virginia Mountain Boys, 1962-1963
  • Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys, 1963-1964
  • Golden State Boys, 1964
  • Shady Valley Boys, 1964
  • Del McCoury & the Dixie Pals, 1969-1989
  • Del McCoury Band, 1989- present

Led the Way

  • Inducted into the SPBGMA Preservation Hall of Greats, 1989
  • Recipient of multiple IBMA awards (Entertainer of the Year 9 times, Male Vocalist of the Year 4 times, Instrumental Group of the Year 2 times, Album of the Year 2 times, Song of the Year, and Recorded Event of the Year)
  • Grammy award in 2006 for Best Bluegrass Album
  • National Heritage Fellowship, 2010
  • Inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 2011

By the Way

  • Del and his older brother were both given names inspired by United States presidents: Del after Franklin Delano Roosevelt and G. C. after Grover Cleveland.
  • All three McCoury brothers – Del, G. C., and Jerry – play music; Jerry was an integral part of the Dixie Pals in the 1970s and ‘80s.
  • During the early days of his career as a musician, Del supplemented his income by working as a logger.
  • Del’s wife, Jean, traveled many miles as merchandiser and manager for the Dixie Pals and the Del McCoury Band.
  • A limited edition series of 115 Martin D28-DM (Del McCoury) signature guitars was sold out before it even began production.
  • Del likened his 2002 appearance at Tennessee’s Bonnaroo festival – with an estimated crowd of 70,000 youths – to his 1960s appearances on the Grand Ole Opry as a member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys; both crowds were wild with excitement for bluegrass music.

From the Archives

“I was working with Jack Cooke when Bill stopped to pick him up on the way to New York; he needed a banjo player, so I went with them and played the show, and Bill offered me a job. After a month or so, I decided to go down to Nashville and see about it, but by then, Bill had hired Brad Keith to play banjo, and he asked me if I would play guitar and sing lead. You know, I had sung every part, but mostly tenor up until then, so I knew the words to the choruses but not the verses. Learning all those songs was the hardest part of the job.”
Del McCoury, quoted by Jon Weisberger, from “Del McCoury et al Are Winners, Again,” Country Standard Time, December, 1997.
“We’ve recorded things from all different genres of music through the years, and I think that helps bring people to our shows, too… There’s so many young people coming into the music, and I think the reason is they see it’s a great art form.”
Del McCoury, quoted by Bill Michaels, from “O Brother, Is Bluegrass Music Growing,” Bluegrass Unlimited, June, 2005.
“What’s made me keep at this is a love of the music. When I started out, you know, it never entered my mind that you could make any money playing music… In the early days, I’d drive forty miles to make seven dollars. And I still feel that way.”
Del McCoury, quoted by Dana Andrew Jennings, in “Bluegrass, Straight and Pure, Even if the Money’s No Good,” in The New York Times, April 23, 1995.