Watch Del McCoury, The Travelin’ McCourys, Billy Strings & Sierra Hull Honor Jerry Garcia With Rollicking ‘Loose Lucy’ Cover
Celebrate Del’s 84th birthday by watching three generations of bluegrass stars cover the Grateful Dead.
By Nate Todd Feb 1, 2023 • 12:56 pm PST
Today marks Del McCoury’s 84th birthday. The inexhaustible bluegrass legend is still going strong with his group the Del McCoury Band, which has long featured his sons Ronnie McCoury and Rob McCoury. Del’s sons also have their own outfit, The Travelin’ McCourys, who are no strangers to the Grateful Dead catalog, an influence they discovered through their dad.
While Jerry and the Dead were big influences on Ronnie and Rob McCoury, it was Del who initially influenced Jerry. In a 2016 interview with Apparently This Matters, Del relates how he met Jerry at a Virginia festival after being introduced by mutual friend mandolinist David “Dawg” Grisman. While Del doesn’t note when the Garcia meeting took place, it must have been in the Old & In The Way era of the mid-1970s as McCoury recalls Grisman introducing Jerry as his “new banjo player.”
It would be banjos and Dawg that brought Del and Jerry together once again in the early 1990s. In the 2016 interview, McCoury goes on to talk about how Ronnie had some “old-time” banjos he wanted to sell and Grisman suggested they call Jerry. The Capitol Theatre shared a famous photo of Del, Ronnie, Rob and Jerry with the banjos via their social media channels around Del’s 80th birthday celebration at the Cap in 2019. The legendary venue noted that during the meeting Jerry had said to Del’s sons, “You know, your dad was a big inspiration to me when I started.” Garcia’s words naturally made a big impact on the young McCourys as they have become renowned for their Grateful Dead covers.
On July 3, 2021, The Travelin’ McCourys performed at the Brooklyn Bowl Nashville. Del would stop by along with some of bluegrass’ young stars like guitarist Billy Strings, mandolinist Sierra Hull and more. The collaborators would close out the concert with the Jerry Garcia-led Grateful Dead number, “Loose Lucy.”
To celebrate Del McCoury’s birthday today, watch The Travelin’ McCourys with Del, Billy Strings, Sierra Hull and more perform “Loose Lucy” below:
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