A conversation with Travelin’ McCourys bass player Alan Bartram

Alan Bartram takes the lead on a tune with the Travelin’ McCourys at the August 2016 Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival.

It was August 2016, and the Travelin’ McCourys were appearing at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival. We’ve written about that festival before. It is a fantastic event, and it is only 45 minutes from my home. Bonus points for very reasonably priced one-day tickets and a habitually strong Thursday night lineup. It’s great to be able to make a quick after work run down Route 15 for a night of music, often a great warmup for a weekend spent at another festival.

Through a Facebook acquaintance who vouched for my legitimacy, I was able to obtain a photo pass for that show. That pass gave me backstage access. That is where I encountered Alan Bartram, the bass player and singer for The Travelin’ McCourys/The Del McCoy Band.

Travelin’ McCourys bassist Alan Bartram warms up backstage before their set at the August 2016 Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival.

Bartram was kind enough to agree to a quick chat on camera. It was shot on my phone, handheld, as I also tried to take notes to write something later. Apologies in advance for the shaky image at a spot or two. We mostly kept Alan on screen. We learned — we try to use a tripod nowadays.

Anyhow, Bartram was raised in Pennsylvania. He went to college in Williamsport, which is in Northcentral Pennsylvania. The first time he played Gettysburg was not the first time he was at that festival. As I learned in the conversation, he used to come there as a kid and has a deep respect for the tradition of this long-running event.

We talked about the difference between playing for a traditional bluegrass crowd and playing for a more progressive crowd like they draw for their Grateful Ball events with the Jeff Austin Band. And we talked about how it is different playing with Del, and without him.

Anyhow, here is the interview: