"We love Pennsylvania; it was home and it'll always be home," he says by phone while he juggles caring for his newborn son and managing repairs at his house, one a few houses up the road from where his father, bluegrass legend Del McCoury, lives. It's been a busy summer for the McCourys.
"A month ago," Rob McCoury says, "we were at DelFest," where he spent 12 days performing at the Maryland festival and nearby venues only to return to Nashville for more excitement. "I got home Monday evening, we were in the hospital six o'clock Tuesday morning having the baby, and it hasn't slowed down since."
New album: And with the baby not quite a month old - his third child; he has a daughter, 9, and a son, 5 - McCoury will be heading out again for tour dates to support "Pick," the new album by Keller Williams and the Travelin' McCourys.
"We've got this first one out, and I don't think it'll be our last one with Keller," he says. "None of us knew how it'd turn out, we'd never played together before, but it worked really, really well."
The Travelin' McCourys - Rob McCoury on banjo, his brother Ronnie McCoury on mandolin, Jason Carter on fiddle and Alan Bartram on bass - met up with Williams and played with him for the first time in the studio to record the album, which features a mix of Williams' original songwriting and covers.
The album is one that rewards careful attention and re-listening, Rob McCoury says.
Williams is "such a witty person," he says. "And the songs he writes, you really have to listen to them to get what the content is about."
But it's not just the lyrics that get McCoury fired up about the project, which comes out Tuesday, July 3. "Pick" is a chance for the Travelin' McCourys to stretch their bluegrass muscles in a new direction.
"Some of them are actually two-speed songs.... (They) start out slow and then get fast, maybe double time in the middle of the tune, and then you'll bring it back down," he says. "You've gotta pay attention when you're doing these things.... It's challenging."
The music isn't the Travelin' McCourys' typical bluegrass, and it's far from the music Rob McCoury and his brother play in their father's band.
"Nobody could compare this record with a Del McCoury record," he says. "It's a totally different sound."
Tradition: Don't get him wrong - Rob McCoury loves traditional bluegrass, and he's justifiably proud of his father's prominence in the field.
"I think that's what my dad has been so good at, too - he's always done music his way, but you know he's not afraid to take maybe a rock 'n' roll tune and do it his way," he says. "Dad gets a hold of it and he makes it better, and that's what we hope to do as well."
In fact, it was back in the 1980s, when Rob McCoury was a student at Susquehannock High School, that his father first put him on stage.
"I was 15 ... my first gig was in upstate New York," he says. "I was nervous as all get out ... and I still get that way sometimes." He laughs. "My dad needed a bass player at the last minute."
And although Rob McCoury had primarily been practicing banjo since he was 8, he stepped up and filled in for the missing bass player. He hasn't stopped the music since.
"Dad was always in his joy; he was happy playing music," he says. "I suppose most boys wanna be like their dad."
Both McCoury boys, despite the new directions they've taken with the Travelin' McCourys, still perform with their father in the Del McCoury Band more than a quarter-century after they first played on stage together. In October, they'll be in York to give a benefit concert at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center. And although they'll have plenty to keep them busy between now and then as they promote the new album, being back in York is something Rob McCoury is eagerly anticipating.
"It's always good to come home," he says.
Have a listenThe Travelin' McCourys can be heard on "Pick," the new Keller Williams album, which comes out Tuesday, July 3. Visit the website at www.kellermccoury.com for details.
The Del McCoury Band will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 N. George St., York.
Tickets are $30-$55. Proceeds benefit the Kittelson Charitable Foundation to help children in Rwanda go to school.