Grand Ole Opry member Del McCoury’s next release will be an album of songs he’s written using rare Woody Guthrie lyrics. Del and Woody will be issued by McCoury Music on April 15.
Guthrie’s daughter, Nora Guthrie, got the idea to approach McCoury about making the album after seeing him perform at Newport Folk Festival in 2009.
“After hearing Del’s show, I remember thinking that if my dad had had a band, it would very possibly have sounded very much like Del’s,” she said.
A few years later, McCoury was sent a few dozen of Woody Guthrie’s lyrics, with the goal of composing music to suit the words.
McCoury said, “When I read them, it seemed pretty easy to me to hear the music that would fit. Nora said, ‘You can change some things if you want to,’ and I said no. He’s a great writer, and I do not want to change anything in his songs. I would just like to put a melody to these words so that maybe folks will accept the songs, and that’s what we did.”
One of the songs, “The New York Trains,” was released on the 2014 audio book CD set, My Name is New York; Ramblin’ Around Woody Guthrie’s Town. The song received a Grammy nomination for Best American Roots Song.
McCoury was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2003. The Del McCoury Band has won two Grammy Awards for Best Bluegrass Album: The Company We Keep (2005) and The Streets of Baltimore (2013).
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