Old Crow starts new chapter with 'Carry Me Back'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The way Ketch Secor sees it, time doesn't pass in a linear fashion when it comes to Old Crow Medicine Show.

It's a series of beginnings and endings, starts and stops, and the release of the souped-up string band's fourth album "Carry Me Back" marks all these things. Back with the group is Critter Fuqua, a founding member who left five years ago after trouble with addiction. Out is key member Willie Watson, who decided to start a solo career after creative differences within the band.

"We've been making circles all along in this band and after a certain point, a certain number of years of performance, you find you come back around again," Secor said. "And that's happened more than a few times. For example, in this incarnation of our band, Critter and I are making a 20-year circle. Maybe Old Crow on this record made a 10-year circle or something. But everybody who's an artist is making this orbit, around the muse, around inspiration."

After making a foray into electric instruments and "really knocking up the rock 'n' roll tree" on their 2008 release "Tennessee Pusher," Secor said the band has circled back to the original sound that so excited him and Fuqua as kids. "Carry Me Back" is full of old-timey string sounds updated for the 21st century — sing-a-longs that lift the soul, ballads that rend the heart and a few moments of pure exhilaration.

The title song opens the album with a ready-made metaphor in the chorus of "Carry me back to Virginia," the place where Secor and Fuqua grew up together and fell in love with roots music.

"The record to me is as close as that original inspiration to be in a band as when we first got started," Secor said. "It's very much the root of our sound. This record sounds like we would've if we were any good 14 years ago."

Back then they were slightly eccentric wanderers, hearing a sound in their heads few others their age could pick up — or cared to. When "Carry Me Back" hit stores last month, they found they're now running at the front of an ever-expanding pack of acoustic enthusiasts who are turned on by the same ideas.

They've always considered themselves wandering ambassadors for old time ideas and music, but usually spread that message to the small pockets of acoustic enthusiasts that existed until recently.

Enter Mumford & Sons, the British folk quartet who carried Old Crow along on its wave of popularity after a performance at last year's Grammy Awards. Marcus Mumford and pals invited Old Crow to join them on a vintage train tour that landed them in Emmett Malloy's moving documentary "Big Easy Express." Mumford acknowledged in the film that the band inspired them to pick up the banjo and start their now famous country nights in London. They also took OCMS to Europe.

"Those boys took the message and ran with it," Secor said.

And the support seems to have paid off. "Carry Me Back" came out July 17 and earned the band its biggest debut, landing at No. 1 on Billboard's folk and bluegrass charts, No. 4 on the country chart and No. 22 on the all-genre Billboard Top 200.

A fantastic payoff for a band that came up the hard way. As Secor notes jokingly, "We were sleeping in potato fields before it was cool to sleep in potato fields." But after more than a decade and a half traveling lonesome roads, they just weren't sure the band would survive 2011.

Exhaustion from three years on the road, infighting and differences of opinion seemed to add up to the final days of Old Crow Medicine Show. Watson, one of four original members from the band's first full incarnation, left the group to pursue a solo career in Los Angeles.

"We didn't know if there was going to be a future of Old Crow about a year ago," said Norm Parenteau, the band's manager of 10 years. "It was just hard. But Critter just revived it."

Friends with Secor since childhood, Fuqua was never completely away. He would return from time to time, but often it was too soon as Fuqua tried to sober up. He aimed his creative energy at college in Texas and put away thoughts of rejoining the band on a permanent basis.

"For me personally, I mean, I had to get sober," Fuqua said. "I was just a mess in 2007. I missed Ketch a lot. I missed the music. But at the same time I never really doubted that I would play with Ketch again."

They formed a little Tejano duo and visited as often as they could. But Fuqua wasn't ready to return until recently. He made the decision after spending two days with the group as they put the finishing touches on the new album late last year.

Fuqua added his harmony vocals and picking skills to the mix upon his return. But for Secor and Parenteau, it goes much further than that. Parenteau saw it immediately when they gathered together for rehearsals with Watson's replacement, Chance McCoy.

"They seemed renewed," Parenteau said. "They seemed like friends again. There's a different energy. They're hanging around together even when they're not on tour and you walk in the dressing room and they're laughing. Somehow we survived it and it does feel like it's gone to another level."





Follow www.twitter.com/AP_Country for the latest country music news from the Associated Press. Follow Music Writer Chris Talbott at www.twitter.com/Chris_Talbott.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippine, Vietnamese troops play soccer and sing on disputed island

    By Manuel Mogato MANILA (Reuters) - Vietnamese and Philippine troops played soccer and sang karaoke on a South China Sea island on Wednesday in a sign of the growing security ties between the two Southeast Asian nations most at odds with Beijing over the contested waterway. Cooperation has blossomed between Hanoi and Manila since they shelved decades of enmity over their competing claims in the Spratly archipelago to try to counter China, whose creation of artificial islands in the region …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Fall on renewed U.S. rate hike concerns

    BANGKOK, May 27 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets tumbled on Wednesday as investors resumed selling on expectations of an interest rate hike in the U.S. sooner rather than later, derailing Philippine ... …

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options