Monday, March 7, 2011

Old Crow Medicine Show

So, last week, per our previous discussion, I took my Dad to hear John Prine at the Fox Theatre. It was great! He sang of number of songs I recognized and a few I had never heard but loved right away. It was an amazing show, and I’m glad I had the chance to see it with my dad.
Another band, however, opened for Prine, and I enjoyed their set as much if not more than the one I was there to see!
The other band, Old Crow Medicine Show, plays folk- and bluegrass-inspired music and draws mainly from the styles of the early twentieth century to the 1940s. Featuring fiddles, guitars, the harmonica, banjo, and mandolin, it was amazing how their sound was at once so familiar and yet so unusual. It reminded me a lot of the music from Oh, Brother Where Art Thou?, a soundtrack my mother played to death when it first came out.

“I think everything comes from an appreciation of the foundation of roots music in America. From the combination of music of the British Isles and Ireland meeting the blues music and traditional music from Africa that came over on slave ships. Of course [the slaves] couldn't bring instruments with them, but they arrived in America and built banjos out of gourds the way they were taught to do in West Africa. And then suddenly this whole new language began. Everybody's black, everybody's white. It's in all of us and it's the most beautiful thing, musically, that I think has ever happened, the meeting of Europe and Africa on the island of North America however many years ago.”
Ketch Secor, Fiddle, Harmonica, Banjo and Vocals
I enjoyed their music, but even more I enjoyed their energy. They bounded across the stage with their fiddles and swung their heads around to belt harmonies into mics; it felt like watching on old-time radio show, which seems like exactly the kind of thing they’d be into.

This video was nominated for two 2007 CMT Music Awards.
The only thing that puzzled me about the group was their OUTRAGEOUS Southern accents. I mean, I know we Southern speakers are known for our lilting drawl; however, these guys straight up sounded like plantation owners. They sounded like they were Foghorn Leghorn’s neighbors, “Well, ah, ah say now, audience.” It was nuts! I’d like to believe these speech patterns are perfectly natural, but my skeptic side tells me that although they may have been born with Southern accents, the way they speak now has to be hammed up for their audiences.
Regardless, I thought the band was great, and I really enjoyed the show. I wasn’t there to hear them, but OCMS has a newfound fan in me.
Obviously, this group already has quite a following. Are you familiar with their stuff, and if so, are you a fan?
p.s. Let’s all pretend I posted this last Thursday.

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