The Masters of Bluegrass played at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol, Tenn. on March 15, a show rescheduled from a January ice storm. The band is an all-star line up of bluegrass icons: Del McCoury, guitar, Bobby Osborne, mandolin, Bobby Hicks on fiddle, J.D. Crowe on banjo and Jerry McCoury on bass.
The fun show began with a set list of bluegrass classics, including Blue Ridge Mountain Home, Sunny Side of the Mountain, Pain in my Heart, gospel song The Old Cross Road, and Today Has Been a Lonesome Day. And if that wasn’t good enough, they encouraged requests, even with an audience vote on Rocky Top or Ruby, organized by Del at one point. They played both. Other requests quickly granted included Faded Love and Uncle Penn with Bobby Hicks fiddle and Del’s tenor!
There were so many good songs but the highlights included Bobby Hicks’ lovely deep voice on Legend in My Time and Del singing Don’t Stop the Music: “My pockets are empty, I’ve spent my last dime, but I want to hear that song one more time.”
Bobby Osborne’s voice rang through the Paramount on Blue Moon of Kentucky, Cheyenne and Ruby. He and Del did a duet on I Wonder Where You Are Tonight.
Waiting to Hear You Call Me Darlin’ brought back memories of my dad singing that with the Dixie River Boys.
Del McCoury’s tenor is the true sound of high lonesome bluegrass. Loved his voice on I’ll Never Love No One but My Darlin’, Roll On, and Hang Your Head in Shame. Jerry McCoury also has a beautiful tenor, on display with The Blue Night.
A band from the ETSU bluegrass music program, Sons of Bluegrass, were the openers and the Masters invited them back to the stage for the end of the show. Playing Nine Pound Hammer, the Masters showed us the foundation and the future of bluegrass all in one view. Masters indeed!