Happy Birthday Del McCoury: Sitting-In With Phish In 2000
Revered bluegrass guitarist Del McCoury celebrates turning 77-years-old today having been born on this date in 1939. The veteran musician and patriarch of the Del McCoury Band that features his sons mandolinist Ronnie McCoury and banjoist Rob McCoury, Del is among the most respected players in the bluegrass scene and beyond. His influence on jam-forward bands is nearly immeasurable, and today in honor of his birthday, here’s a look back at a sit-in he was part of more than 15 years ago.
On June 22, 2000 Phish began the North American leg of their Summer tour, having just returned from a run of shows in Japan weeks prior. The band’s initial stateside performance was held in Antioch, Tennessee at the AmSouth Amphitheatre and it turned out to be full of all-star guests. Toward the middle of the second set, Ronnie and Rob emerged along with fiddler Sam Bush to augment the end of “Harry Hood.” Del then joined in the action, bringing mandolinist Ricky Skaggs, upright bassist Mike Bub and fiddler Jason Carter with him for a run through bluegrass staples “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome,” “Hold Whatcha Got” (the lone Phish performance) and “Uncle Pen.” After that, country star Wynonna Judd joined the collaboration to handle lead vocals on a set-closing cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.”
Footage of the sit-in featuring a spry 61-year-old Del (wearing a casual t-shirt rather than his more typically formal suit-and-tie attire) and the rest of the cast of collaborators has been shared by tdunski and can be seen below: