Old Crow Medicine Show
Wed., May 25th
Brooklyn Arts Center • 516 N. 4th St.
After completely selling out within hours of launching the Old Crow Medicine Show at Brooklyn Arts Center, the nationally acclaimed Americana roots group returns to our port city with excitement running through their veins. Ketch Secor’s famished appetite for the city goes beyond the touring musician jitters “You all got a thing for your pigs in southeastern North Carolina!” the founding member jokingly said last week during a phone interview. “I really am excited to see that saw-grass bend, see that Cape Fear River flowing, and definitely to eat some good ol’ barbeque. I love to eat in this town!”
Carolinians have as much high regard for Secor and his Old Crow Medicine Show band, too. Their debut album’s signature tune, “Wagon Wheel,” has become somewhat of a state anthem, invading bar jukeboxes and open-mic stages.
Secor originally came from Harrisonburg, Virginia, but since graduating from high school, North Carolina always occupied a special place in his heart. He affectionately describes the state as his “recharge station.”
“After high school, I moved to Greensboro and that was the first time I had freedom as an adult,” he noted. “Before arriving, I also heard that North Carolina was where the music was the best, where the fiddles and banjos were playing all night long. I arrived and was not disappointed at all.”
Since 1998, Old Crow Medicine Show has conquered the Tarheel scene. Incorporating a variety of musical elements—from bluegrass, roots, country, folk and Appalachian music—the sextet has released three critically acclaimed albums and are in the works for a fourth.
“Old Crow started in New York, after busking in Boone, NC, for awhile,” Secor explained. “We eventually moved back to North Carolina before heading to Nashville. We’ve been more of a peripheral member of the North Carolina scene.”
Secor fans the flames of excitement as he mentions the Wilmington show. The band will be trying out new material for the audience. Afterard, they will immediately head to the studio to record a new batch of songs.
“The musical and lyrical progression is still happening,” Secor explained of the band. “We’ve been trying to keep our music fresh. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, it’s not worth it. It’s important that you care about your songs. The power of music can’t be denied, because it’s so strong and a vital part of the life experience.”
North Carolina stays dear to their hearts thanks to an upbringing of talent which can’t be denied. Artists like Charlie Poole and Doc Watson are only a few to whom Secor tips his hat. Old Crow Medicine Show’s newgrass blend pays homage to the old while welcoming the new. It’s apropos they sell out to audiences of all ages.
“We had such a great time on the beautiful beaches [of Wilmington] and meeting all those people who call this town home,” Secor noted of his last visit. “We get a lot of e-mails from Wilmingtonians, and there’s a lot of service people near there. We seem to be popular with the armed forces, which is something we’re proud of.”
Soon, it will be 20 years out since Old Crow Medicine Show formed. From all their accolades, numerous releases and dedication to preserving a style of sound steeped in our musical fabric, they’re well on their way to becoming Americana legends.
“It’s really an honor to make a career out of music,” Secor said. “It’s a real advanced rank and we are proud to carry the torch that’s been passed down from the great musicians. There’s a desperate need for good times in music—the kind of times that last and that you can carry in your heart forever.”
Though tickets for the May 25 show are presently sold out, encore has a pair to give away, thanks to Atlanta-based brewery, SweetWater. [CLICK HERE] and view the YouTube video featuring a Catalan rendition of “Wagon Wheel” by Les Jordis. E-mail editor-in-chief Shea Carver at firstname.lastname@example.org what you think the group is really singing about in their unique cover. She’ll draw a winner at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the 25! The show starts at 7 p.m. at the beautifully renovated Brooklyn Arts Center at St. Andrews.