One Camp Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Allen Price
Del McCoury, the man who puts the blue in bluegrass, has done it again. THE COLD HARD FACTS is yet another collection of originals, standards and "bluegrass conversions" by one of the legendary voices in bluegrass.
THE COLD HARD FACTS measures up to the standards set by McCoury's earlier releases. Jerry Douglas and Ronnie McCoury (Del's son and one of the premier mandolinists around) produced an album which keeps the traditional style of McCoury intact, perfectly showcasing his vocal virtuosity. It's an album for the hard-core bluegrass fan, as well as for one whose previous exposure to bluegrass is somewhat limited. Del bridges the gap between these two extremes with music that is real, honest, authentic. Included in the liner notes are endorsements from some of Del's more well known fans, including Steve Earle, Junior Brown, Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs and The Dawg himself, David Grisman. Grisman proclaims the Del McCoury Band as his favorite bluegrass band, a mighty tall compliment from the Old & In The Way co-founder.
Among the treasures to be found on this album:
"The Cold Hard Facts"- the title cut, another ballad that tugs at the heartstrings.
"Smoking Gun"- Del's grassed-up version of Robert Cray's classic blues tune.
"Baltimore Jonny"- Ronnie McCoury's instrumental composition, showcasing his mandolin playing and brother Rob's banjo picking.
"Loggin' Man"- Maybe it's my Pacific Northwest roots, but I flat out love this portrait of a "Chainsawin' - log skinnin'- tree climbin'- limb dodgin' - truck drivin' - rough ol' loggin' man." Great breaks from the McCoury Brothers and perfect harmony on the machine-gun delivery of the chorus lines.
Del, Ronnie and Rob are joined by Jason Carter on fiddle, Mike Bub on bass, and Jerry Douglas on dobro.
The quote on the back cover of the CD says it best:
"Del McCoury is singing in a mountain tenor so high, so blue, so lonesome that it seems he, or the audience, could swoon for lack of oxygen. It's a voice tempered by all the hopes and fears that make one human, as good a voice as has ever been heard in bluegrass music, maybe in all country music. White soul." -- Dana Andrew Jennings, The New York Times
Edited by Cynthia A. Harney