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Old Crow Medicine Show has been jigging their way across the world in the past decade with radio hits, foot stomping power and the bluegrass prowess that each of the band members possess. Their undeniable country twang has hooked a ride or die fan base of all walks of life. They stopped by the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in the peak of Spring to remind us why Asheville is an unstoppable hoe-down town. They brought along a snazzy dressed guitar virtuoso to open the night. Chuck Mead blurred the lines of American-roots and rockabilly playing only standup bass, guitar, mandolin and floor tom. They have recently released their newest album, “Wabash Canonball”. Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys were a great precursor to one solid show.
The stage presence of OCMS is a tricky one at best. They somehow exhibit that old-school “barn-like” humbly- lit stage while also presenting themselves with a new-age light show that is a perfect balance for their tunes. Too many lights with this crew would be overkill but they have found a way to light up the crowds’ eyes with a tint all their own.
Their attire was that of a Southern gentleman which complimented Ketch Secor’s short stories in between songs about their road troubles, and even finding their way to Asheville after busking through NYC and Canada, found a place to call home. They ran into what we all loving know as Asheville, NC which is where they met a lady who gave them the inspiration to move to Boone, NC. They caught the attention of folk icon Doc Watson while playing in front of a pharmacy. He immediately invited the band to play at his MerleFest, helping to launch their career. Shortly thereafter the band relocated to Nashville for a residency at the Grand Ole Opry, where they entertained the crowd between shows. Ketch defined the term “vocalist” while entertaining the crowd and giving the band time to tune their instruments, with such interesting and locally prevalent stories. At last he shared a catchy blurb, “Driving down the BlueRidge Parkway with a little redheaded girl named Caroline. Her at my side driving down the Parkway.” This band doesn’t just talk the talk. They walk the walk.
During the foot-stomping “Mississippi Saturday Night”, a single off the latest album, Secor and Chance McCoy wheeled off the original arrangement for a little double fiddle duel. Another song featured a mouth-blistering harmonica solo. If that sounds like something that would suit you, then you would have also appreciated Gill Landry’s entire rack of resonator guitars, the upright bass solo, an audience singalong of “Take Em’ Away”.
Just as the big old string bands of yesteryear would take turns leading songs or introducing members, the six guys that make up OCMS all had at least one chance to bring the crowd to a thunderous applause. This diversity made for a fantastically dynamic show that tackled everything from political songs that ended in a cry to bring the troops home to a George Jones tribute to a crowd- roaring encore Dylan cover of “Quinn The Eskimo”. All that might sound a little crazy, but the authentic, warm, jovial personality and swagger of OCMS smooths everything out into the best time you could ever have on a Wednesday night.
They are currently on tour and I would highly recommend hopping on that train. Check them out at http://www.crowmedicine.com/news