Bluegrass legend Del McCoury is getting around to something that he's always wanted to do in his five-decade career — he's releasing his band's first gospel album,The Promised Land.
Over the years, the Del McCoury Band has performed inspiring gospel sets on Sunday mornings at music festivals, but they've never put that material on an album. Now that McCoury has his own record label, he can. He says singing gospel music is like getting back to his roots.
"Probably the first band that I played in was in church," he says. "My first cousin played mandolin, I played banjo and my brother played guitar. And then Preacher Sherrit... sang bass and we had a quartet."
For his new CD, McCoury was given some never-before-recorded music from the late Albert Brumley, the famed songwriter who penned enduring classics like "I'll Fly Away" and "Turn Your Radio On."
Half of the songs on The Promised Land are some of these lost Brumley songs, played by McCoury's fabulous band — sons Ronnie on mandolin and Rob on banjo, Jason Carter on fiddle and Alan Bartram on bass. The songs are less fire-and-brimstone and more uplifting messages of Christian hope and redemption.