Tuesday, June 17, 2014
– Rob McCoury will release his first-ever solo album in mid-August, it was announced today.
McCoury Music, the label started by his father, Del, will release "The 5-String Flamethrower" on Aug. 19.
"My first love will always be traditional bluegrass," said the banjo player. "When it's right, there's just nothing better. I love the simplicity of being able to take four or five guys, get 'em out, tune 'em up and play."
The release, which had been in the works for two years, is a tribute to banjo pickers, including his father. "I used every cut we recorded on this album," McCoury said.
The tribute begins with Earl Scruggs, the player who started it all. McCoury plays his "Foggy Mountain Chimes" along with a relaxed version of "John Henry." "Foggy Mountain Banjo" is arguably the greatest banjo record ever made," he said, "and Earl had a variety of stuff on there-'Home Sweet Home' in C tuning, and 'John Henry' in D. It's one of the things that made him so great."
Don Reno was represented by "Charlotte Breakdown," "Banjo Riff" and "Feudin' Banjos." "When I started writing down all these tunes," McCoury said, "I kind of surprised myself. I looked the list over, and I spotted a lot of Don Reno tunes. Well, when you're playing stuff a lot, you don't always pay attention to where you might have learned it from, but I looked at that list and thought, I'm putting some Don Reno tunes on here. As a kid, it was Earl all the way, but as I got a little older, and I started hearing these great Reno & Smiley records, I thought, some of that is the coolest thing I've ever heard."
Sonny Osborne shows up both figuratively and literally, as McCoury both recorded his "Siempre" (with brother Bobby Osborne on hand) along with the previously unrecorded "Jericho," and momentarily enticed Sonny out of retirement to lay down the opening to "We Could." So do recent Hall of Fame entrant J. D. Crowe ("Blackjack"), Larry Perkins ("Northwest Passage") and Walter Hensley ("Sugar Creek").