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McCoury first heard his calling over the radio airwaves, growing up in Southeastern Pennsylvania, near the Maryland state line. “My dad and my brother used to listen to the Grand Ole Opry every Saturday night,” he said recently, from his home outside Nashville. “That’s how I first heard country music. It was our Saturday night. We’d listen to the Grand Ole Opry, and I heard Bill Monroe — I heard of all of those guys. “Then, my older brother borrowed some records, a Flatt & Scruggs record, Bill Monroe, and when I heard that — the three-finger roll that Earl was doing on that banjo. That's what really got me going. It’s what really got me started.” McCoury’s father was a lumberman, and his mother sang and played guitar at home. He learned guitar from his brother. “My brother was playing on the radio, WHVR in Hanover, Pennsylvania,” McCoury said. “He taught me. But, I really didn’t catch fire

18 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN

about anything until I heard Earl. It was what set me. He was just so fast, and you know, kids like something fast.” Born in 1939, McCoury came of age at a time when popular music was undergoing a great transition. Country music was moving out of old-time, trying to find itself, as it was being shaped by tremendous commercial forces. Bill Monroe was putting together a band that was in search of an unknown sound, almost oblivious to commercial forces. He and the Blue Grass Boys laid the foundation with their definitive Columbia recordings in the late-1940s. And, by the time McCoury was in high school, Elvis had landed, raising the specter of rock & roll. All of pop music was undergoing a generational, and philosophical shift. “Things were changing,” McCoury said. “What people were listening to then was Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. I just didn't pay any attention to that. Later, I did. Later, I realized what great singers they

Profile for Kathy Osborne

The Nashville Musician — April - June 2019  

The official journal of the Nashville Musician Association, AFM Local 257. This issue features Del McCoury, Tracy Silverman, and more.

The Nashville Musician — April - June 2019  

The official journal of the Nashville Musician Association, AFM Local 257. This issue features Del McCoury, Tracy Silverman, and more.

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