RED WING, Minn. — The Travelin’ McCourys, who won a Grammy Award for their debut bluegrass album in 2019, will bring their innovative style of music to the Sheldon Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6.
The band is known for honoring the traditions of bluegrass music but also driving it forward.
Their 14-song, self-titled album was described by writers as “overflowing with inventive style (and) stellar musicianship.” A reviewer called it a “supercharged combination of sacred steel, R&B and bluegrass.”
The Travelin’ McCourys formed about 10 years ago out of the legendary Del McCoury Band. Some of the musicians — including his sons, mandolin player Ronnie McCoury and banjo player Rob McCoury — decided to go out on their own.
The brothers, along with fiddler Jason Carter, bassist Alan Bartram and guitarist Cody Kilby, wanted to take the traditions they loved and push the music forward. They see the genre today as music that is both rooted and revolutionary.
Ron McCoury was quoted in an article as saying, “The old bluegrass material is something I love, but it’s been done many times. We’re forging ahead with our own sound.”
In developing their music, The Travelin’ McCourys have worked with rock and country musicians. The band also created the Grateful Ball, which was described as “a bluegrassified tribute to the Grateful Dead.”
Rolling Stone Magazine described their sound as a “sublime combination of rock and bluegrass, contemporary and classic, old and young.”
The band performs a lot of original songs written by the members plus covers, according to bassist Bartram, who co-wrote three of the songs on their award-winning album with another musician. Ron McCoury did the same.
They also apply their progressive sound to traditional bluegrass tunes, and add an element of bluegrass when covering songs from other genres, Bartram said.
Ron McCoury, Bartram and Carter share duties as lead singers. However, Bartram said, their concerts also feature a lot of instrumental tunes spotlighting the different members as soloists.
The band is unique in that each of its members has been recognized with an International Bluegrass Music Association Award at least once.
That’s in addition to the Grammys the Del McCoury Band won when they were performing in it.
Earning their own Grammy as the Travelin’ McCourys was something special, Bartram said. “We each had our own input into the recording,” he said. “It was a long time coming. … We never really expected to win,” especially with a debut album, “but it happened. It was quite an honor.”
They have blocked some studio time into their busy touring schedule so they can begin working on their next album.
A few new songs are part of their current set list, he said, but they won’t decide until the day of the show exactly what they’ll perform in Red Wing. The concert here is the fourth of five consecutive nights they’ll be in concert — in different states each night. The set list changes every stop, which makes the event more interesting for the performers.
In addition to touring, the members also still perform at times with the Del McCoury band, including appearances at the Delfest, a spring music festival in Maryland that was established by Del McCoury.
“It’s fairly different,” Bartram said, because the senior McCoury is the band leader and lead singer, so they perform more traditional music.
The band looks forward to performing at the Sheldon. “Some of the best places to play” are smaller, historic theaters, Bartram said. “Acoustically, they sound very nice, and it feels nice to be close to the audience.”
Following the concert they will have CDs, vinyl and other merchandise for sale in the lobby.
Tickets to the concert are $35-$39. Visit the box office, call 651-388-8700 or go online to www.sheldontheatre.org. The website also contains a link so people can see a video of The Travelin’ McCourys or link to their site.
If you go …
What: The Travelin’ McCourys — a pogressive bluegrass concert
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6
Where: Sheldon Theatre, 443 W. Third St., Red Wing
More info: 651-388-8700 or www.sheldontheatre.org