Record Review - 2 October 16 2003

The Del McCoury Band earned a stellar reputation as bluegrass ambassadors through hard work, musical virtuosity and a willingness to take risks. A band that bridges classic bluegrass stylings with contemporary works, McCoury and the boys' latest release, It's Just The Night, the band's first official release on their own label, features signature sound combined with various songs penned by a diverse group of songwriters.

Kicking off with a tearjerking adaptation of Richard Thompson's "Dry My Tears And Move On," McCoury and band cover nearly the entire musical spectrum. Other inclusions in the set are the humorous "Same Kind Of Crazy" by Delbert McClinton, the thought-provoking "Let An Old Racehorse Run" by Nashville stalwart Verlon Thompson, the animated "Asheville Turnaround" by Shawn Camp and Billy Burnett, and fellow bluegrasser Don Reno's traditional gospel tune "I Can Hear The Angels Singing." Regardless of any song's original genre, (the other) DMB apply their distinctive style and give each tune a whole new life.

Proving that their appeal and collaborations are as widespread as their fame, McCoury and the boys welcome the fabulous Fairfield Four as backup vocalists on the title track, which may be the most powerful cut on the whole album. Through It's Just a Night, the Del McCoury Band have opened bluegrass music up to a new generation of fans, and are always looking to the future.

The Del McCoury Band plays Variety Playhouse Sat., Oct. 18. $20.