Music can be many things and certainly it can be joyful. Pure joy is the best way to describe this recent show at the Standard. Sponsored by WDVX and a birthday party of sorts, the night started with the Traveling McCoury band, which is Del McCoury’s band without Del. A very tight bluegrass unit, they kept the crowd tapping toes and happy to be there.
And then Del McCoury took the stage and the roof blew off. “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” started his brief set on the stage and the man got some major love from the crowd. Two of his sons are in the band and the whole group seemed to genuine love being together on the stage. His voice strong and his step spry he seemed fit and ready to run at 76 years old.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band followed a brief intermission and won the crowd from the very beginning. Announcing that the open area in the front of the stage needed to be filled with dancers, it wasn’t long before they got their wish and a New Orleans’ style party was underway. At one point it seemed half the downtown population was on the dance floor having a blast. The trombone player alone was worth the price of admission as the trombone flew through the air in every direction and he danced harder than anyone in the house.
The two bands recorded an album together in 2011. “American Legacies” included songs the two bands had in common as well as some new ones that fit their joint style. It’s an odd pairing that seems doomed by the disparate musical styles embodied by each, but it works startlingly well. A bit of that material was on display toward the end of the night as Del McCoury and band joined the Preservation Hall Jazz Band in several numbers.
It was a night that shined a spotlight on the power of music to make people happy – even if only for a while. I can’t imagine there was anyone who didn’t leave the show smiling at the end of the night. I bet many people present will remember it for a long time. I know I will. I’ve included some videos below so you can get the feel of the music. I’ll also have more photographs soon on the Inside of Knoxville FB page.