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The whistle knows my name
Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 11:37 pm Reply with quote
Charlie Joined: 21 Apr 2008 Posts: 931

Star-Gazette (Elmira, New York) · Mon, Jul 16, 2001

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Last edited by The whistle knows my name on Sat May 20, 2017 1:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

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"That's the whole principle of the Medicine Show ... you put your trust in the medicine, and you don't get beat up."
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The whistle knows my name
Posted: Mon May 15, 2017 11:39 pm Reply with quote
Charlie Joined: 21 Apr 2008 Posts: 931



Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, North Carolina) · Fri, Aug 10, 2001

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The whistle knows my name
Posted: Tue May 16, 2017 5:16 am Reply with quote
Charlie Joined: 21 Apr 2008 Posts: 931
Old Crow Medicine Show give bluegrass a punk feel on self-titled CD
The Canadian Press - 2004-03-09
ANGELA PACIENZA

The rags-to-riches tale of Old Crow Medicine Show begins with buskers on a street corner in Cornwall, Ont., and ends with Bob Dylan. The quintet, which performs pre-Second World War blues, jigs, fiddle tunes and hollers, formed in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1998. Shortly after coming together, they packed up their banjo, upright bass, fiddles and harmonica into a beaten, exhaust-spewing van and pointed their compass north, drove past the border and right into the sleepy community of Cornwall, Ont., where they performed their second show ever in a grungy watering hole.

The boys received a warm reception. They continued on across Ontario to venues in Parry Sound, Wawa and Ottawa, where they were making up to $700 a day busking outside of a butcher shop in the city's farmers' market. Their gig on Manitoulin Island was unfortunately cancelled. "There was a stabbing in the bar the night before," explains frontman Ketch Secor, the band's vocalist and fiddler. "It was pretty hardcore up there." The OCMS should appeal to a younger crowd who were enthralled several years ago by the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou phenomenon. What makes this outfit different from the dozens of other bluegrass groups that sprang up in the aftermath of the film's success is their punk attitude. "We kind of hit this right at the time when people were just interested in traditional music again for the first time in a while. It seems like there's a resurgence nationwide, maybe worldwide, with American roots music," says Secor on the phone from Nashville. At a time when acts come prefabricated in glass office towers in Hollywood or polished by fancy mixing machines and image stylists, Old Crow's strategy of busking town-to-town across Canada in exchange for food and shelter is a refreshing breeze in what often seems to be an otherwise stale industry.

But more than adventurous road trips, Old Crow's self-titled album - released nationally in mid-February by Vancouver's Nettwerk and globally next month – seems to channel an old world soul while freshly packaging it by putting their stamp on traditional numbers like Tear It Down, Poor Man and the boisterous Tell It To Me. Self-penned ditties such as We're All In This Together, Hard to Tell and Big Time in the Jungle illustrate the quintet's inner '20s child. "The music has come to everyone in the group really naturally," said Secor, a 25-year-old from Virginia. "We were able to make a connection between the music that we grew up with and this old archaic music." Weaned on Nirvana, AC/DC and the Pixies with a side order of MTV's Top 40 music videos, Secor says he traced rock 'n' roll back to old-time fiddle music. After discovering Bob Dylan in his late teens, Secor sought out the legend's roots in people like Woody Guthrie, Blind Willie McTell and the Delmore Brothers. "I ended up with this real wealth of old Americana music. It was phenomenal to find all this music at a young age and to learn to play it,” he said.

The band's music bridges the generation gap. Alongside the old-timers who long for more traditional music, young fans are discovering the handsome boys and getting in on the foot-stomping action. The glossies are eating up OCMS's rock 'n' roll sensibility, which touches on drugs, war, parties, and girls in the lyrics. They were featured in recent issues of Rolling Stone, Esquire and Entertainment Weekly.
"People our age see us up there doing the rock and roll lifestyle thing and they like that," explains Secor, who's joined by Willie Watson on vocals and guitar, Critter Fuqua on banjo and slide guitar, Kevin Hayes on guitjo (a six-string banjo played like a guitar) and Morgan Jahnig on bass. "They like to see the kids who had the courage to go out there and step out onto the road when it was dangerous and they weren't going to make any money."

So how is it that, in an era when punk is equated with Blink 182 and Good Charlotte, five 20-somethings are tapping into music that dusty white men would deem would deem worthy of a front porch performance? "They're just incredible musicians. They have so much soul," said Sam Parton of the Vancouver-based Be Good Tanyas, who helped place OCMS's music in the hands of Nettwerk label executives. "Their music is true and honest." It helps, muses Secor, that the subject matter of songs hasn't changed over the past century. "People were struggling with technology then, just as we are today. At one time, they were all freaked out about the telephone, then television sets were invading their homes, just like we're all freaked out about the Internet."

But it wasn't easy in the beginning for the lads. "We've gotten a lot more adept at writing in a natural state where you're not really concerned with the product placement of yesteryear. That's the problem people face as revivalists," Secor said. And the members of Old Crow, who plan to return to Canada this summer for a tour, are certainly not interested in reviving what's not dead. "I found it at 12 years old. It's certainly not dead. It's almost better that it stays under the cuff because I don't want it to get exploited and turn into Coca-Cola jingles and it's at risk of doing that," Secor said. "That's what happens to songs. They start out as something we can all sing together and then they end up being part of a Ford Explorer commercial or some half-time show. It's almost better that it stay unrevived, stay somewhere in between buried in the ground and way above the clouds."

They often look to their inspirations, like Dylan, to write about the issues that matter to us today. The first single, a barn burning rocking track called Wagon Wheel, is based on the chorus of a Bob Dylan tune. Secor added lyrics and melody when he was 17. The band finally got permission three months ago to use the words after more than three years of trying. Secor shares a publishing deal with the troubadour. "It's pretty cool because every time that I make 50 cents, Bob make a quarter," says Secor with the enthusiasm of a child. "It's awesome. I can't wait to go talk to him because I've got this angle now. I'm part of his bankroll."

On the Net: www.crowmedicine.com

_________________
"That's the whole principle of the Medicine Show ... you put your trust in the medicine, and you don't get beat up."
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The whistle knows my name
Posted: Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:10 pm Reply with quote
Charlie Joined: 21 Apr 2008 Posts: 931
The Old-time Herald: A Magazine Dedicated to Old-time Music, Volume 8
Winter 2001
Eutaw
The Old Crow Medicine Show, a sextet of 20-something musicians based in Nashville, TN wants to shake things up by getting back to basics. An unidentified Old Crow informed me, "It's doomed from the start, anything real, anything really alive and cosmic and sacred, the music of the past. Everything has been stripped off our backs. America thinks it no longer shoulders our own history. All the good stuff comes with shrink-wrap [as if] anything worth knowing about ought to be found on the Internet or in a university. But I have a brick from the Dockery [plantation] where Charlie Patton played Friday nights. And it looks like landfiller unless I tell you, 'see this brick, Charlie Patton's voice is in this brick'.' Do I sound like I'm just complaining? Like I need to spend a week playing fiddle runes at Clifftop and renew my pride in us as a people? That stuff just doesn't do it. What we have for ourselves here in the traditional music world is not enough.”
Indeed. A social and stylistic confluence once existed in American vernacular music indigenous to the Southeastern quadrant of the United States. What we now recognize as distinct musical sub-genres (for argument's sake, old-time string band music, jug band music, country blues, Scotts-Irish derived balladry,bluegrass music, Cajun music) and associated with distinct ethnic groups (Caucasian, African American) may be viewed as artifacts of an artificially divisive system of marketing tools used by the nascent music and recording industry of early 1920s. It may be argued further that the “revival” of old-time string band music by post-war urban musicians not directly “from the tradition” was and is still influenced unduly by these divisions. One may also identify an artificial esthetic held by many members of the contemporary old-time musical community: a meritocracy of perceived authenticity and stylistic purity by which the quality of the music is evaluated. It is this reviewer's suggestion that these forces may be responsible for making the music played at popular old-time festivals sound homogenous. To bring the argument down to Earth (without casting aspersions upon superbly skilled, talented musicians), it seems everyone has a twelve-inch pot banjo, plays very cleanly over the neck, “chucks” a lot, and listens to the same recordings. Perhaps our musical community needs a dose of “real musical diversity”, as advertised in a prominent Pennsylvania college radio station call-letter announcement. The Old Crow Medicine Show appears to recognize neither artificial stylistic divisions within traditional music nor modern stylistic trends within old-time music, and is willing to provide this diversity with a vengeance. Eutaw, named for a city in Alabama on the Tombigbee River that served as a rest stop for the band after busking in New Orleans, is an attempt to re-create and capture the raucous musical anarchy produced by a rural string band sitting in front of a microphone during an early 1920s recording session, as opposed to an attempt to reproduce faithfully all of the musical nuances of an old recording. Eutaw may not appeal to all readers of the OTH. The musical approach of The Old Crow Medicine Show bears more than a passing resemblance to that of the Holy Modal Rounders, punk-folk chameleons Cordelia’s Dad, or possibly the Fugs. While competent, none of the band members is an instrumental virtuoso. Issues of intonation and precise ensemble interplay are secondary to the generation of excitement and explosive kinetic energy. (powered by insistent banjo-guitar rhythmic underpinning) and "Down South Blues" balance on a knife-edge between ragged intensity and cacophony. But the Old Crows have managed to assimilate the ethos of rural string-band music to the degree that identification of their sources is superfluous. "All songs traditional, arranged by OCMS" will suffice. The first three cuts on this CD reminded me of why I became involved with this music 20 years ago. The initial hearing was like having a cornucopia of Americana emptied on my head. “Raise a Ruckus”, “Tear It Down”, and “Hesitation Blues” are vocal driven, in-your-face evocations of the raunchiest efforts of artists such as Charlie Poole, The Chatman Family, and Uncle Dave Macon, presented with the hard-edged uncompromising commitment of true believers. The inclusion or ragged slide guitar in “Raise a Ruckus” and the weaving of “Pig Ankle Rag” around the lyrics of “Tear It Down” are delightful touches. The performance of kazoo-intensive “Cocaine Habit” (Take a Whiff on Me) so perfectly captures the jug band sound that I wondered if my wife put a copy of one of my Origin Jazz Library records on the turntable and changed the source behind my back. Shack #9, recorded live at a farmers market, is a tribute to the West Tennessee tobacco industry. It’s an eerily accurate evocation of the pre-song patter and headlong frontal musical attack found on Charlie Bowman and his Brothers’ “Moonshiner and his money” routine (Columbia 15387-D), and makes me believe that Eutaw is a pale image of The Old Crow Medicine Show’s live act. My favorite selection is “Silver Dagger,” a stately, mournful vocal duet flavored with droning button accordion. The deeply moving vocal performance is utterly without calculated affect or irony, and raised the hair on the back of my neck.
Chad Crumm employed two microphones, a DAT machine, and a living room to make the recording. It has the feel of a well-made field recording with all the clarity and balance necessary to convey the musical and emotional content. No post-recording process or mixing is apparent, and the slightly primitive sound enhances the impact of the material.
The CD cover features a moody dichromatic image of a man in a field with an approaching storm at his back. The above-mentioned Crow told me, “The photo on the inside [of the CD insert] is of Walt Disney and his Board members watching a pilot for a new cartoon. See the projector light? That’s Walt with the smirk on his face,” and is a comment on the transformation by media corporations of traditional and popular culture into inoffensive consumer products. Unfortunately, credits for individual performers are not given for each track. A website www.crowmedicine.com is interesting, but only tangentially informative.
Give this recording a listen. These guys rock.
Steve Sendeloff
To Order: Old Crow Medicine Show, 381 Oakview Drive, Nashville TN 37207

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A nice review of Eutaw from 2001 including an interview from (presumably) Ketch.

_________________
"That's the whole principle of the Medicine Show ... you put your trust in the medicine, and you don't get beat up."
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