Gary Dunning, President and Executive Director
Del McCoury Band & Woody Guthrie:
The Del McCoury Band sings
unreleased songs of Woody Guthrie
Saturday, January 23, 2016, 8pm — Sanders Theatre
(Boston) Celebrity Series of Boston will present the Del McCoury Band in an evening of unheard lyrics from America’s great folk poet, Woody Guthrie on Saturday, January 23, 2016, at 8:00pm at Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall, Harvard University, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge.
Tickets start at $50, and are available online at www.celebrityseries.org, by calling CelebrityCharge at (617) 482-6661 Monday-Friday 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m., or at the Harvard Box Office, Holyoke Center, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.
The Del McCoury Band last appeared with the Celebrity Series with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in 2010.
The Del McCoury Band performs an evening of unheard lyrics from America’s great folk poet, Woody Guthrie, with music by the most awarded artist in the history of bluegrass. To help bring new life to the work of American folk poet Woody Guthrie, his daughter, Nora Guthrie, gave Del McCoury exclusive access to the archives of her father’s unpublished work.
Born in York County, PA, Del McCoury would once have seemed an unlikely candidate for legendary status. Bitten hard by the bluegrass bug when he heard Earl Scruggs’ banjo in the early 50s, McCoury became a banjo picker himself, working in the rough but lively Baltimore and D.C. bar scene into the early 1960s. He got his first taste of the limelight when he joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in early 1963; the Father of Bluegrass moved McCoury from the banjo to guitar, made him his lead singer, and gave him a lifetime’s worth of bluegrass tutelage direct from the source in the course of little more than a year. But rather than parlay his gig with the master into a full-time career of his own, he returned to Pennsylvania in the mid-60s to provide steady support for his new and growing family.
Within a few years, McCoury had settled into work in the logging industry-and formed his own band, the Dixie Pals. For the next decade and a half, he piloted the group through a part-time career built mostly around weekend appearances at bluegrass festivals and recordings for labels ranging from the short-lived and obscure to roots music institutions like Arhoolie and Rounder Records. And while there were the inevitable personnel changes and struggles to contend with, McCoury was also building a songbook filled with classics remade in his own image and a growing number of originals-songs like “High On A Mountain,” “Are You Teasing Me,” “Dark Hollow,” “Bluest Man In Town,” “Rain And Snow,” “Good Man Like Me, “Rain Please Go Away” and more-that would become an important part of his legacy in years to come.
The Del McCoury Band has shown unprecedented stability, with but a single change in membership in fifteen years; their namesake earned membership in the cast of the legendary Grand Ole Opry in 2003, and the Band earned their first Best Bluegrass Album Grammy award two years later; they traveled with the groundbreaking post-O Brother “Down From The Mountain” tour, performed and recorded (on his Grammy-winning These Days) with Gill and with country star Dierks Bentley; they’ve made multiple appearances at the spectacular Bonnaroo Music Festival and launched an impressively popular annual New Year’s Eve show at the Ryman Auditorium, where Del first appeared on the Opry with Bill Monroe some 46 years ago. Perhaps most importantly, McCoury took an almost unprecedented step in 2003 when he took control of his own music by creating the McCoury Music label, home to that Grammy-winning album along with a select set of releases by the Del McCoury Band, country icon Merle Haggard and more.
In 2004 they were nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album for It’s Just the Night, and in 2006 they won that category for The Company We Keep.
Woody Guthrie (1912-1967) was an American singer-songwriter whose musical output includes hundreds of songs, covering political themes, traditional American songs, and ballads. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, earning him the name “Dust Bowl Troubadour.” Guthrie’s daughter, Nora Guthrie, worked with the Smithsonian Institution to present the traveling exhibit, This Land Is Your Land: The Life and Legacy of Woody Guthrie from 1999-2002. Guthrie’s best-known song is “This Land Is Your Land”.
About Celebrity Series of Boston
Celebrity Series of Boston was founded in 1938 by pianist and impresario Aaron Richmond. Over the course of its 77-year history, Celebrity Series has presented an array of the world’s greatest performing artists, including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arturo Toscanini, Ignace Paderewski, Artur Rubenstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Glenn Gould, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Isaac Stern, Andrés Segovia, Kirsten Flagstad, Marian Anderson, Luciano Pavarotti, Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Martha Graham, Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mstislav Rostropovich, and the New York City Opera Company.
The Celebrity Series has been bringing the very best performers–from orchestras and chamber ensembles, vocal and piano music, to dance companies, jazz, and more–to Boston’s major concert halls for 77 years. The Celebrity Series of Boston believes in the power of excellence and innovation in the performing arts to enrich life experiences, transform lives and build better communities. Through its education initiatives, the Celebrity Series seeks to build a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience–on stages, in schools, at home– everywhere. For more information on Celebrity Series of Boston, call (617) 482-2595 or visit us online at www.celebrityseries.org.
The Celebrity Series of Boston, Inc. receives generous support from Amy & Joshua Boger, Leslie & Howard Appleby, The Garbis & Arminé Barsoumian Charitable Foundation, the Boston Cultural Council, the Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC, the Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Deloitte LLP, Donna & Mike Egan, EMC, Foley & Lardner LLP, Gabor Garai & Susan Pravda, David & Harriet Griesinger, the Charles and Cerise Jacobs Charitable Foundation, Paul L. King, The Royal Little Family Foundation, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Joseph McNay, Stewart Myers, the National Endowment for the Arts, Eleanor & Frank Pao, The Peabody Foundation, PTC, The John S. and Cynthia Reed Foundation, The D.L. Saunders Real Estate Corp., the Stifler Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Henri A. Termeer, Michael and Susan Thonis, Tufts Health Plan, Sanjay & Sangeeta Verma, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Nancy Richmond Winsten, Anonymous, and many others.