In the 1990s, he recorded Tom Petty's "Love is a Long Road" and Richard Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning." He played festivals attended by youngsters who became famous with bands such as Phish and The String Cheese Incident, kindred spirits of the Grateful Dead. Then they begged McCoury to jam with them.
McCoury said he wondered, when invited to play with Phish near Oswego, N.Y., in 1999, what they could possibly know about bluegrass. Then Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio stunned McCoury by suggesting "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome," written by Bill Monroe and Hank Williams Sr.
"That's about as hardcore bluegrass as you can get," McCoury said. "That surprised me that this young guy that played electric guitar would know the most traditional bluegrass song that there might be."
and Mike Gordon's thoughts on the collaboration:
It was their bottle of Tennessee moonshine, but it was us who showed them the art of back-woods, deep-mountain, southern-fried, shit-kickin' bluegrass.