Del McCoury Band - It's Just the Night

Del McCoury Band
It's Just the Night

(McCoury Music/Sugar Hill)

First Appeared at The Music Box, September 2003, Volume 10, #9

Written by John Metzger

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Del McCoury has been performing within the bluegrass genre for over forty years, but his most recent ensemble ó which features bass player Mike Bub, fiddler Jason Carter, mandolinist Ronnie McCoury, and banjo picker Rob McCoury ó is arguably the best group that he has ever fronted, including his brief stint with Bill Monroe in 1963. Without question, the Del McCoury Band has been virtually unstoppable over the course of its decade long career, and though its latest offering Itís Just the Night doesnít match the graceful, easy-going flow of its pinnacle Del & the Boys, itís safe to say that when all is said and done, it will prove to be the best bluegrass album released this year.

As with its previous efforts, the Del McCoury Band continues to expand the boundaries of bluegrass by culling material from an eclectic array of songwriters, and Itís Just the Night showcases compositions by Delbert McClinton, Don Reno, and Richard Thompson. Of course, this isnít the first time the group has drawn from Thompsonís catalog. Del & the Boys featured a terrific cover of 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, and for this outing, the band exquisitely delivers Dry My Tears and Move On and Two-Faced Love, which bookend the album. Elsewhere, the ensemble blazes its way through the Ronnie McCoury-penned instrumental Hillcrest Drive, offers a stirring rendition of Ron Smithís Let an Old Racehorse Run, and joins forces with the Fairfield Four to turn the title track into something that is absolutely magical.

Musically, Itís Just the Night is nothing short of amazing ó no surprise, there ó as the musicians seamlessly shift from rhythm to lead and back again as if locked within a spiritual, cosmic dance while angelic harmonies flutter around Del McCouryís lofty, golden tenor. The intensity and utter perfection of the album does slack off just a tad during the collectionís latter half. But thatís like complaining that this yearís fine wine isnít quite as good as last yearís vintage. The bottom line is that itís still fine wine, so drink up and enjoy. starstarstarstar

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Of Further Interest...

Great American Taxi - Great American Taxi / self-titled

Earl Scruggs - The Essential Earl Scruggs / Classic Bluegrass Live

Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby - Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby / self-titled

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It's Just the Night is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2003 The Music Box