The Del McCoury Band - Family Circle

The Del McCoury Band - Family Circle

McCoury Music MCM 0014

It’s fitting that Family Circle is the title of the Del McCoury Band’s most focused effort since 1999’s The Family, an album released at the height of their crossover popularity. Family Circle, which highlights Del’s peerless tenor lead on each of 14 tracks over 45 minutes of music, again shows why the powerful five piece music machine is so legendary.

Rob McCoury’s banjo groove underpins perfect harmonies on “Sweet Appalachia,” an album opener that serves as an anthem for the cultural background of bluegrass music. “Barbaric Splendor,” from the set list of New Riders Of The Purple Sage, is a gritty “leather and lace” song that Del somehow pulls off with ease. Del’s voice goes down smooth and hot like the moonshine he’s singing about on Revenuer’s Blues,” co-written by Ronnie Bowman and Ronnie McCoury (mandolin and harmony vocals), while “Hello Lonely” is a new song that sounds like an old school bluegrass number, featuring nimble trade offs between Rob’s banjo and Jason Carter’s fiddle. “Delma Blue” is the kind of lonely waltz that Del was born to sing.

Showing that DMB is as versatile as they are powerful, “I’m Justified” is a joyous fourpart harmony gospel celebration of salvation that ranks up there with anything done by more gospel oriented acts over the past few years. “Bad Day For Love” is back in more familiar DMB territory, a bluesy raveup that’s sure to be rock-hard on the live stage, while the Johnny Mercer penned “I Remember You” is a change up, one that has Del’s half yodel neatly matched to the sentimentality of a 1940s movie soundtrack.

Del turns wickedly mean on Buddy & Julie Miller’s “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger,” followed by a western interlude of the Alaska ballad “White Pass Railroad” and Mark Knopfler’s “Prairie Wedding.” “Honey Hurry Home,” “Mexico’s Daughter,” and a cover of the Jerry Lee Lewis hit “Break Up” are three tasty treats that leave you wanting more of this great recording. (McCoury Music, P.O. Box 625, Goodletsville, TN 37070, www.mccourymusic.com.) AKH