Music News & Reviews

The Travelin’ McCourys in, JJ Grey & Mofro out at MoonTower

Travelin' McCourys performing at The Tabernacle in Atlanta in January 2015. The group is a late addition to the 2017 MoonTower Music Festival lineup.
Travelin' McCourys performing at The Tabernacle in Atlanta in January 2015. The group is a late addition to the 2017 MoonTower Music Festival lineup. Invision/AP

With under a month until MoonTower Music Festival the festival has announced a last minute change to it’s lineup, adding bluegrass veterans The Travelin’ McCourys in place of the previously scheduled JJ Grey & Mofro.

Led by Ronnie and Rob McCoury, sons of the charismatic songsmith and bluegrass legend Del McCoury, The Travelin’ McCourys have made waves of their own in the bluegrass world with their passionate harmonies and progressive takes on old-time ballads and hits of today such as Passenger’s “Let Her Go.” Joined by Ashland native Jason Carter on fiddle, Alan Bartram on bass and Cody Kilby on guitar, the McCourys last performed in Lexington in October 2015 during the Breeder’s Cup Festival. The group has had 20 years to gel and experiment with one another, leading to a confidence in their playing that translates into one of the most polished sounds in all of bluegrass.

“We’re very excited about this addition to the lineup. We feel that having a bluegrass group adds to the great mix of talent on our roster and is a perfect ingredient to a festival in Central Kentucky,” said LexEffect founder Kaelyn Query, director of the MoonTower Festival. “These five musicians headline festivals across the country and leave people in awe.”

Query said the festival and JJ Grey parted company when the artist requested contract changes the festival could not accommodate.

The late addition of The Travelin’ McCourys and elimination of JJ Grey follows the recent change to Todd Snider’s scheduled set, which was originally going to be with Great American Taxi but will now be with The Eastside Bulldogs, comprised of Jon Latham, Elizabeth Cook, Rorey Carroll, Presley Tucker, and Allen Thompson.

Joining Snider and the McCourys at MoonTower are Umphrey’s McGee, Benjamin Booker, Cherub, The Record Company, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Blackfoot Gypsies, Tyler Childers, Elise Davis, Vita & The Woolf, Warren Byrom & The Fabled Canelands, Debraun Thomas Trio and Daisy Helmuth & People Planet.

MoonTower also has plans for an after-party to the festival at The Burl, with details on performers and more coming soon.

Matt Wickstrom: @wickstromwrites

If You Go

MoonTower Music Festival

What: One-day event featuring Umphrey’s McGee, Benjamin Booker and 12 other artists.

When: Aug. 26

Where: Masterson Station Park, 3051 Leestown Road

Tickets: $45 general admission, $75 VIP

Online: Moontowermusicfestival.com

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