Company We Keep

Company We Keep

5.0 1
by The Del McCoury Band

In one of his revealing songs, the sagacious Del McCoury sings, "Don't ever let it be said darlin' / That what I do don't bring me joy / Climb in the seat beside my Martin / 'Cause I'm a guitar-picking, bluegrass-singing / Never grow up boy." That telling lyric (from "Never Grow Up Boy") says everything about Del: the dedicated bluegrass man possessed by the music and…  See more details below


In one of his revealing songs, the sagacious Del McCoury sings, "Don't ever let it be said darlin' / That what I do don't bring me joy / Climb in the seat beside my Martin / 'Cause I'm a guitar-picking, bluegrass-singing / Never grow up boy." That telling lyric (from "Never Grow Up Boy") says everything about Del: the dedicated bluegrass man possessed by the music and the life that comes with it, enjoying the youthful vigor it gives him. His energy spurs some great moments on the smart, fiery The Company We Keep, especially in the jaw-dropping instrumental byplay driving the tunes. Fiddler Jason Carter weaves a tapestry of urgent, flowing lines amid the scintillating banjo and mandolin work of the McCoury sons, Rob and Ronnie, respectively, in the driving album opener, "Nothing Special," which sets the stage for wondrous things to come. Singing of good intentions gone awry, bad women, ever-rich family ties (in a well observed, folkish chronicle of parenting pitfalls, "Fathers and Sons"), and the strength of his faith (the stark, moving hymn "I Never Knew Life," an object lesson in southern gospel quartet harmonizing), Del opens himself up like never before. His astringent voice imparts the wisdom of his 66 years, soaring and dipping as it plumbs his most sensitive emotions. Despite some heavy subject matter, though, this album is an upbeat exercise -- witness Ronnie's self-penned, barn-burning instrumental "Seventh Heaven," the rambunctious (and gleefully executed) kiss-off tune "She Can't Burn Me Now," and the lowdown, thumping country blues "When It Stops Hurtin' " to hear bluegrass at its most life affirming, arising from the moment when heart meets technical mastery, the byproduct of which is music of Olympian stature.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
"Everyone who pre-orders The Company We Keep will be placed in a drawing to receive the very first (#1/500) limited-edition Del McCoury Bobblehead doll." The fact that this quote, according to almost every press release concerning the latest release from the esteemed Del McCoury Band, precedes any information about the actual record itself is cause for concern among longtime fans. The Company We Keep is infinitely more satisfying than 2003's tepid It's Just the Night, but by adhering to a less progressive program than in the past, much of the playing -- though as precise as an algebra equation -- seems more or less phoned in. Never mind that McCoury is 66; he's still got a lot of oil to burn, something that fans who have had the pleasure of seeing him play live will enthusiastically attest to. He's at his best when he's ornery ("She Can't Burn Me Now"), but for every spark there's a wet wick -- "I Never Knew Life" is a paint-by-numbers gospel groaner. With a lineup -- longtime bass player Mike Bub left shortly before the album's release -- that boasts over 12 years of merrymaking, the Del McCoury Band should be able to find a balance between progress and tradition. Unfortunately, The Company We Keep is awfully keen on keeping things conservative.

Product Details

Release Date:
Mccoury Music


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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Del McCoury Band   Primary Artist
Del McCoury   Indexed Contributor,Guitar,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal),Tenor (Vocal),Group Member
Mike Bub   Bass,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal),Group Member
Rob McCoury   Banjo,Guitar,Vocals,Baritone (Vocal),Group Member
Ronnie McCoury   Mandolin,Vocals,Tenor (Vocal),Group Member
Jason Carter   Fiddle

Technical Credits

Del McCoury   Composer,Producer
Harley Allen   Composer
Neal Cappellino   Engineer
Chris Harris   Art Direction
Ronnie McCoury   Composer,Producer
Gary Nicholson   Composer
Jeff Presley   Composer
Jeff Silbar   Composer
Mark Simos   Composer
Stan Strickland   Art Direction
Mark Walton   Composer
Liz Meyer   Composer
Jerry Salley   Composer
Jon Weisberger   Composer
Don Schlitz   Composer
Larry Keel   Composer
Joe New   Composer

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The Company We Keep 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing Time – 51:37 It’s difficult to maintain your place when you’re already on top. Everyone’s been wondering how the Del McCoury Band would follow the album “It’s Just the Night,” that won IBMA’s Album of the Year Award for 2004. The very first item you notice about The Del McCoury Band’s “The Company We Keep” (the second on their own McCoury Music label, distributed exclusively by Sugar Hill Records) is the high quality production of the 12-page fold out CD jacket with liner notes, numerous color photos, and lyrics to all songs on this generous 52-minute project. First impressions and marketing ARE important! While the music always takes priority, it’s great to see their record company not skimp on the rest of the product. Del and the Boys have never been content to merely rest on their laurels. Rather, they’ve always been strong proponents of giving their fans 125% whether it be in live concert or on compact disc. That’s the attitude that Del conveys when he sings his original (co-written with Harley Allen) “Never Grow Up Boy” about being a “guitar pickin’, bluegrass singing, never grow up boy” whose dreams “can set men free.” Del and Harley also wrote “Keep Her While She’s There.” Del also collaborated with Don Schlitz on “If Here is Where You Are.” Ronnie McCoury’s instrumental “Seventh Heaven” is top-notch. The Del McCoury Band is also a full-speed-ahead band packed with vocal and instrumental energy and excitement. One song in ¾ time (When Fall’s Coming Down) provides its nice contrasting rhythmic beat at track eleven. They keep their music upbeat and distinctive as they deliver the bluegrass goods written by such songcrafters as Mark Walton, Joseph New & Jeff Silbar, Larry Keel, Liz Meyer, Gary Nicholson, Jeff & Dean Presley, Jerry Salley & Susanne Mumpower-Johnson, Mark Simos & Jon Weisberger. We have to thank these writers for some very cool songs that bring out the best in this band! We have to thank the Del McCoury Band for being some of the hardest working musicians in the bluegrass business, and for being meticulous with all the details that come with the fame. Not just great entertainers, the band members are truly highly credible and professional emissaries for the genre. In eight years, McCoury’s been IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year. “The Company We Keep” pays tribute and expresses gratitude to all friends, family and team members who have helped make them what they are. The CD’s back cover shows Del’s grandkids at the head of the table and indicates that the McCoury bluegrass tradition is in very good hands. (Joe Ross, Roseburg, OR.)