Del McCoury Band sows some bluegrass at Crystal Bay

Tahoe Onstage

Bluegrass royalty the Del McCoury Band plays the Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room on Nov. 5, 2019.
Larry Sabo / Tahoe Onstage photos

With the Del McCoury Band onstage, the Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room felt like the Grand Ole Opry.

Jesse Dunn and Jenni Charles opened up the Nov. 5 show with their passionate harmonies and Jenni’s magical fiddle. They started with “Forty Four”and “Find your Home.” Jesse noted that his mother, Donna Marie Dunn, had recently passed and when they were with her in Vermont, they would play music for her every day.  Jesse and Jenni played an amazing song, “Corner Stone,” which he wrote especially for her.

The Del McCoury Band is traveling on a short tour, and we were lucky to have them stop at the Crystal Bay Crown Room. Del McCoury played guitar, his son Ronnie played the mandolin, his other son Rob played the banjo, Jason Carter played the fiddle and Alan Barton was on the bass.

Jenni proclaimed: “Del McCoury is the father of bluegrass.” He has been playing music professionally for more than 50 years, and is the most awarded artist in bluegrass history.

They opened the show with the fast-paced song “Mad Dog”with incredible picking on the banjo and mandolin. Since they are a traditional bluegrass band, they share a microphone as their harmonies blend.

“Nashville Gas” (the greatest country water) was a crowd favorite, with the players’ fast, nimble fingers. “Streets of Baltimore” was a tune for which they won a Grammy. “Little Maggie,” “Mill Town” and “Hot Wire” also were songs that had the crowd dancing.

Del McCoury, the 80-year-old band leader, said he never uses a set list. He asked the audience for requests and someone called out the 2001 song “Gold Brickin,'” an intricate tune McCoury said the band hadn’t played in 10 years. It was performed flawlessly.

Everyone in the room was amazed and delighted by the talented musicians, who left the crowd wanting more music.

— Marcia Schultz

Tahoe Onstage

Jason Carter frays his bow during a hot lick.

Ronnie McCoury

Click the link to see all of Larry Sabo’s photos from the show

About Marcia Schultz

Marcia Schultz is a longtime local to the Lake Tahoe area and is a music aficionado. She has been to countless musical events from Tahoe to Nashville.

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