Vince Gill says it simply, and maybe best: “I'd rather hear Del McCoury sing ‘Are You Teasing Me' than just about anything.” For fifty years, Del's music has defined authenticity for hard core bluegrass fans-count Gill among them-as well as a growing number of fans among those only vaguely familiar with the genre. And while the box set Celebrating 50 Years of Del McCoury, like its distilled companion, By Request-both in stores on May 12th-provides an opportunity to look back on a unique legacy, it's also one that Del McCoury's rolling past with a wave and a grin and some of the best music he's ever made.
"Martin has always been the standard bearer for Bluegrass guitars. Bill Monroe had a 1939 model that was used from the very beginning in the creation of Bluegrass, and when he switched me from banjo to guitar that 1939 model is the instrument I played. That guitar has been lost for decades, but to this day if I heard someone play that guitar, I'd know it--it had such a great, distinctive tone. I've owned many Martins since, with a 1956 D-28 that my wife Jean bought me getting the most use. It's still hard to believe that they have built not one but two Del McCoury models for the public to enjoy--and I was pleasantly surprised that right out of the box they sounded great. No need for seasoning, just tune them up and play. I really appreciate the great relationship with Martin, and hope we can continue to working together for many years, whether it's through their participation in DelFest and support for the DelFest Foundation, sharing songs and stories at IBMA's annual convention, or creating another custom guitar. They make a quality product that I'm proud to endorse." -Del McCoury