Old Crow Medicine Show is an Americana string band based in Nashville, Tennessee, that has been recording since 1998. They were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on September 17, 2013. Their ninth album, Remedy, released in 2014, won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album. The group’s music has been called old-time, folk, and alternative country. Along with original songs, the band performs many pre-World War II blues and folk songs. Bluegrass musician Doc Watson discovered the band while its members were busking outside a pharmacy in Boone, North Carolina, in 2000. With an old-time string sound fueled by punk rock energy, it has influenced acts like Mumford & Sons and contributed to a revival of banjo-picking string bands playing Americana music — leading to variations on it.
The group released their sixth studio album, Volunteer, through Columbia Nashville on April 20, 2018 — coinciding with their 20th anniversary as a group. They released 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde on April 28, 2017 (their first album on Columbia Nashville). Previous studio albums were O.C.M.S. (2004), Big Iron World (2006), Tennessee Pusher (2008), Carry Me Back (2012), and Remedy (2014). Their song “Wagon Wheel”, written by frontman Ketch Secor through a co-authoring arrangement with Bob Dylan, was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 2013 and has been covered by a number of acts, including Darius Rucker, who made the song a top 40 hit.
The band was featured along with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Mumford & Sons in the music documentary Big Easy Express, which won a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video in 2013. They performed on the Railroad Revival Tour across the U.S. in 2011. They appeared at the Stagecoach Festival 2013 and multiple times at other major festivals, e.g., Bonnaroo Music Festival, MerleFest:2000:2004:2008:2014 Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival:2004:2009 and Newport Folk Festival. They have made frequent guest appearances on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. The group received the 2013 Trailblazer Award from the Americana Music Association, performing at the Americana Honors & Awards Show. Publishing administrator Downtown Music Publishing represents the works of Old Crow Medicine Show.
Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua first met in the seventh grade in Harrisonburg, Virginia and began playing music together. They performed open mics at the Little Grill diner, as did Robert St. Ours who went on to found The Hackensaw Boys. Secor’s early influences included “driving up to Mt. Jackson, VA to the bluegrass Saturday night in the summer, going up to Davis and Elkins College to participate in the Old Time Music week there, and meeting guys like Richie Stearns.” Secor formed the Route 11 Boys with St. Ours and his brothers, and performed often at Little Grill. Willie Watson first met Ben Gould in high school in Watkins Glen, New York (Schuyler County), and began playing music together. Both Watson and Gould dropped out of school and formed the band The Funnest Game. Their brand of electric/old-time was heavily influenced by the old-time music scene prominent in Tompkins and Schuyler County, New York, including The Horse Flies and The Highwoods Stringband.
Fuqua, school friend and future bandmate, first brought home a Bob Dylan bootleg from a family trip to London containing a rough outtake called “Rock Me, Mama” (from the “Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid” soundtrack sessions) and passed it to Secor. Not “so much a song as a sketch, crudely recorded featuring most prominently a stomping boot, the candy-coated chorus and a mumbled verse that was hard to make out”, the tune kept going through Secor’s mind. A few months later, while attending Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and “feeling homesick for the South,” he added verses about “hitchhiking his way home full of romantic notions put in his head by the Beat poets and, most of all, Dylan.” Dylan was a major influence on the young musician.
The line-up has changed, and we aren’t the same group of guys that set out for the Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1998. We’re not the same group of individuals that picked grapes in New York State to fill our gas tank and roll out of town. — Ketch Secor
Current members of the band are:
Joe Andrews – pedal steel, banjo, mandolin, guitjo, guitar, resonator guitar
Critter Fuqua – banjo, resonator guitar, guitar, accordion, vocals, drums
Morgan Jahnig – stand-up bass, vocals
Chance McCoy – fiddle, guitar, banjo, mandolin, vocals
Ketch Secor – fiddle, harmonica, banjo, guitar, bajo sexto, mandolin, vocals
Cory Younts – mandolin, drums, percussion, keyboards, harmonica, Jew’s harp, vocals
Former members of the band are:
Ben Gould – stand-up bass
Kevin Hayes – guitjo, vocals
Matt Kinman – bones, mandolin, vocals
Gill Landry – banjo, resonator guitar, guitar, vocals
Willie Watson – guitar, banjo, fiddle, harmonica, vocals