Grisman/McCoury | 03.07 | Denver

Words & Images by: Tony Stack

David Grisman Quintet & Del McCoury Band :: 03.07.08 :: Ogden Theatre :: Denver, CO

Del McCoury Band :: 03.07 :: Colorado
The Orange Blossom Special recently steamed into the Ogden Theatre pulling a double load of the Del McCoury Band and the David Grisman Quintet. While it may have been freezing outside, inside it felt like peak summer festival season.

If you had never seen the Del McCoury Band before, tonight's show would have been an excellent primer, as it contained a little of everything they are famous for: soaring familial harmonies, virtuoso instrumental performances and down home melodies. The band features Del's sons Ronnie and Rob on mandolin and banjo, respectively, Jason Carter on the fiddle and Alan Bartram on bass. While Del's name is on the marquee, this band is definitely a democracy with each member taking equal turns on the solitary microphone to sing and play throughout the set.

Although not much new ground was broken on this night, the band expertly worked through familiar numbers such as "1952 Black Vincent Lightning" and "Nashville Cats." "Get Down on Your Knees and Pray" elegantly showcased their trademark harmonies and also demonstrated the heavy gospel influence in the McCoury music. The set highlight was definitely their extended, closing song that featured Ronnie and Carter feverishly trading licks, prompting Del to interject, "Hurry up and finish, I got to go to the bathroom."

David Grisman :: 03.07 :: Colorado
I can't figure out if pairing the David Grisman Quintet with the Del McCoury Band is a nice match or a maddening juxtaposition. As straight ahead and predictable as Del McCoury was, the DGQ was equally all over the map, changing musical styles so fast my head was spinning. They opened the show with some patented "Dawg Music," an up-tempo gypsy-swing often featuring Matt Eakle's flute chasing Grisman's mandolin lines from Paris to Buenos Aires and back again. Then, in classic Grisman fashion, the band veered into a vamp based on a James Brown groove, complete with bass player Jim Kerwin doing his best Godfather of Soul impression.

After that, the large Deadhead contingency was more than pleased to hear a rendition of "Dawg's Waltz" off the original Garcia/Grisman album. Subsequent songs such as "Tracy's Tune" and "16/16" gave further testament to the breadth and originality of Grisman's music. It was interesting to note that Denver native, Grant Gordy filled the guitarist seat instead of recent regular guitarists, Enrique Coria and Frank Vignola.

The set finished with a bang as Grisman took a rare lead vocal turn, singing the traditional "Shady Grove." The best was saved for last as the entire Del McCoury Band came out for a short but rousing show-ending jam that featured Grisman and Ronnie McCoury trading mandolin licks. This was a very satisfying evening that certainly whet my appetite for the summer sounds of Telluride Bluegrass Festival and RockyGrass. Hold on tight folks, festival season is just around the corner!

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[Published on: 3/25/08]

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pornofunk starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/25/2008 05:03PM
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god i love grisham....anyone who DOesnt KNow this man....better ask someone

ScIFreak Tue 3/25/2008 05:25PM
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The man's a legend, I loved all his work, esp. his work with Jerry, god that was some good music.. The Thrill is def. not gone when you see the Dawgs.....

psogator43 Tue 3/25/2008 06:08PM
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anyone seeing grisman in atlanta this weekend??

Wild Turkey starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/25/2008 07:29PM
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Wild Turkey

Thanks for reviewing this show. Del and the boys are absolutely entertaining. Del really knows how to treat his patrons, musicianship and personality! Bluegrass textbook. Dawg was actually pleasant that night, no lectures to the crowd. His meds must be straightened out. Grouchy as i have found him at times, he always brings it.

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/25/2008 08:47PM
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Grisman rules!!! If you arent familiar with him immediately listen to Muleskinner Live!!! and Old And in the Way live or studio albums. Amazing.

sbruce44 starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/25/2008 10:04PM
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Old And In The Way never recorded a studio album.

sbruce44 starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/25/2008 10:06PM
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Old And In The Way never released a studio album.

sbruce44 starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/25/2008 10:12PM
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Some people say they recorded one, I'll believe it when I hear it. Sorry for the triple post.

rhythmic_randomness Wed 3/26/2008 05:40AM
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That Shady Grove is a good one from the Pizza Tapes. I noticed a likeness in the structure to Little Sadie...both great! Tony Rice's guitar work is scary good. I saw Doc Watson play both those songs a couple months back. Man, can that guy play! Hard to believe he's 84. Wish I coulda caught Rice backing him on his tour recently.

mickrod420 Wed 3/26/2008 07:22AM
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where are the setlists on the bottom? I like when people do that on here.

hippyjessica starstarstarstarstar Wed 3/26/2008 11:37AM
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Psogator43, I'll be at the ATL show now that I know there is one. Gotta add DGQ to my fav bands on jambase....doh! Variety Playhouse....freakin' sweet. Small venues rule!

acomma Wed 3/26/2008 11:46AM
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David Grisman and Sam Bush - "Hold On, We're Strummin'" If you have never heard of this album, get it and get it quick! I think it's a little better than the work with Jerry, although I am a fan of the "dawg" music that Grisam continues to pioneer.

sbruce44 starstarstarstarstar Wed 3/26/2008 12:44PM
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Agreed acomma - sick dueling mandolin album!

jjwood starstarstarstar Wed 3/26/2008 02:23PM
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I was sorry to have missed this show, because I know Grant Gordy would be playing. To those CO folks, whenever Grant and his quartet plays, it is always worthwhile seeing them. You will hear more of Grant Gordy, his great chops, and his *muse* in the future: The lad is *that* good a player, the type who deserves to be heard.

1radioheader Wed 3/26/2008 02:45PM
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What a sick double bill this must have been . . . .. .

RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Wed 3/26/2008 03:51PM
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of course old and in the way recorded a studio album. that's where the studio version of wild horses is. they released the two live albums (available on cd) and a studio album. Duh!

wharfrat04 starstarstarstarstar Wed 3/26/2008 08:06PM
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Liberals is right Old and in the Way deffinatley released a studio alblum titled Old and in the Way, it's actually quite famous for being a newgrass cult classic. It's still in print and easily found. Then there are the two live releases "Breakdown" and "High lonsome sound". All are amazing and are more than worth buying.

achalsey starstarstarstarstar Thu 3/27/2008 06:11PM
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I was at this show, absolutely amazing. Missed my friends 21st birthday, he was pretty pissed but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to see the Dawg. Can't wait for telluride. I'm so glad I moved to CO.

DELYEAH starstarstarstarstar Wed 4/2/2008 03:20PM
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Sounds incredible! I wish I would've been there! I've never had the pleasure of seeing Dave Grisman, but I've seen Del and the Boys numerous times and they always put a smile on my face!