We are always thrilled to host The Travelin' McCourys at 5 Points Music Sanctuary. This band of bluegrass royalty consistently deliver a world-class performance. Our own Appalachian wonder child, Colby T. Helms and his Virginia Creepers open up.
The McCoury brothers- Ronnie (mandolin) and Rob (banjo) - were born into the bluegrass tradition. Talk about a source abundant and pure: their father, Del, is among the most influential and successful musicians in the history of the genre. Years on the road with Dad in the Del McCoury Band honed their knife-edge chops, and encouraged the duo to imagine how traditional bluegrass could cut innovative pathways into 21st century music.
“If you put your mind, your skills, and your ability to it, I think you can make just about anything work on bluegrass instruments,” says Ronnie. “That’s a really fun part of this- figuring the new stuff out and surprising the audience.”
With fiddler Jason Carter, bassist Alan Bartram, and latest recruit Cody Kilby on guitar, they assembled a group that could take what they had in their DNA, take what traditions they learned and heard, and push the music forward. In fact, the band became the only group to have each of its members recognized with an International Bluegrass Music Association Award for their instrument at least once. There were peers, too, that could see bluegrass as both historic and progressive. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Allman Brothers Band, improv-rock kings Phish, and jamband contemporary Keller Williams were just a few that formed a mutual admiration society with the ensemble.
At the bottom of the Southwest Virginia foothills, in Franklin County, south of Roanoke, about a half-mile from the nearest neighbor, Colby T. Helms resides in an underground house built by his late father. He chops wood daily for the stove, hunts, and takes care of his mom. He also pens raw and real storytelling music that cuts to the bone. Colby suffered the loss of his dad to cancer when he was only 12 years old. Beset by sadness and loneliness, he turned to music. He taught himself guitar, banjo, and mandolin by watching local performers and videos. He amassed a growing record collection, combing through the stacks at flea markets and browsing online. He began to perform countless gigs around the area with his band, The Virginia Creepers. He also shared a series of performance videos on YouTube. Colby’s honest songwriting, raw vocals and talented guitar licks began turning heads, and with a debut album on the not-too-distant horizon, it won’t be long before the music world takes notice of Colby T. Helms.