The Travelin' McCourys
The best set of the festival came courtesy of The Travelin' McCourys, which is essentially the host's backing band — sons Ronnie on mandolin and Robbie on banjo, Jason Carter on fiddle, and Alan Bartram on bass — with the addition of guitarist Cody Kilby. The group has the musical chops to pick fast and with precision, but gives off a looser vibe, tackling covers from the late songwriting legend Guy Clark ("Homegrown Tomatoes") and Passenger ("Let Her Go") alike. McCoury, Sierra Hull and fiddler Mark O'Connor joined the group for the encore, a phenomenal rendition of "Vamp in the Middle." Still, it was another cover that really embodied the spirit of Delfest: Keyboardist Conner Broome and guitarist Evan McCoury of the Broomstix, fresh from high school graduation, joined the band for the Dire Straits' "Walk of Life." It was a sublime combination of rock and bluegrass, contemporary and classic, old and young.