The Travelin McCourys headlined a “bluegrass sampler platter” at City Winery in New York City this past Sunday. Joining the bluegrass family was Bryan Sutton, Sierra Hull, The Gibson Brothers, Tim O’Brian, along with special guests.
Sutton got the night started with a full-band fiddle tune before retracting to a country duet. The Asheville-born guitar player then led the full band in a riveting version of his tune “That’s Where I Belong” and made way for Sierra Hull.
Sierra Hull is an absolute must-see act in the bluegrass circuit. Her beauty is the first thing that sticks out when she walks on stage, followed swiftly by a heart-melting southern accent. However, she makes clear that she is a musician when she picks up the mandolin, channeling the likes of Chris Thile on her classically-inspired chops. She has one heck of a singing voice too, making her the complete package.
The Gibson Brothers brought a Bill Monroe cover to the table, and the group did a hyper version of “Big Mon” that would have made Monroe proud. Another cover of the traditional “Two Dollar Bill” garnered a fair amount of hootin’ and hollerin’ from the posh City Winery clientele.
Tim O’Brian brought along Andy Statman to play as a duet, and the two really impressed with their progressive mandolin style. Taking turns playing Tim’s songs along with tunes from Statman’s impressive catalogue (he has 30 albums under his belt…) to make for an incredible, jaw-dropping set. The Hot Rize member was in great form, really captivating the audience for the duration of his short set (each artist only played about 30-40 minutes).
But when The Travelin McCourys take the stage, it’s obvious why they are among bluegrass’ elite. The four piece band offered Bryan Sutton a chance to step in to Del’s shoes as the singer-songwriter took on the role of playing guitar with the group. Alan Bartram led the group in “Messed Up Just Right” while Jason Carter led the band in “Southbound.” Of course Rob and Ronnie were in perfect form as they offered up shredding licks on the banjo and mandolin respectively.
To conclude the performance, the group brought out guests Tim O’Brian, Sierra Hull and more to form a 10-piece pickin’ party. The lively performance ended, but not without a roaring applause from the audience. The “Bluegrass Sampler Platter,” as the night was dubbed, was a definite hit.