As I began my musical journey, I was captivated by the sound of Del McCoury. I studied his music, his vocal style and phrasing. To be honest, I was obsessed. My best friend, Dave Carney, shared my interest, if not my obsession. We soon crossed paths with a couple other musicians who were also captivated by McCoury’s sound. Joe Hannabach, a bass player from North Carolina, who loved the McCoury sound as much as we did, and Mark Crawford, a mandolin player and singer from Blacksburg, VA.
It soon crossed our minds to record ourselves playing some of McCoury’s music, and some other songs we thought would sound good done in that style.
In 2002, we gathered at my recording studio, Clear Blue Productions, in SouthWest Virginia, and began to record some tracks. I don’t think we even had a name for the CD, or a complete track list, but we were eager to get started.
We eventually settled on the name LED39. To those who don’t know, it seems arbitrary, but to us, it conveyed a lot of meaning. LED is the name of our hero, Del, spelled backward. 1939 marked the year the man was born.
As we worked on the recording, Mark eventually had to pull out of the project due to a hectic schedule at work and other personal reasons. This left us in need of a mandolin player. So Dave and I took a trip to Roanoke to visit another friend of ours and convince him to join us in the studio.
Herschel Sizemore had played mandolin with the McCoury band many years before, and still enjoyed the music. When he signed on board to play mandolin, the project moved into a whole new realm. Before, we were just having fun, now we were making a CD!
We ended up with 11 tracks we thought good enough to include on the recording. Four of the eleven tracks were tunes that Del himself had recorded at some point. The others were songs we gathered from other sources, The Johnson Mountain Boys to John Fogerty. Two of the songs were written by good friends of ours who profoundly influenced Dave and myself, Brad Davis and Billy Joe Foster.
Below are some samples for your listening pleasure.