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.

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • 3 Pinays on Forbes power women list
    3 Pinays on Forbes power women list

    Three Filipina executives, who are all daughters of known business tycoons in the country, made it to Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia. Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Universal Bank, was included in the list for the fourth year in a row since its inception. “Under her (Sy-Coson) lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap. Also in the 2015 list is 70-year-old Helen Yuchengco-Dee, …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR
    Pacman mega fight tax exemption up to Congress, BIR

    Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to consider a proposed special tax exemption for boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in his much-awaited fight with Floyd Mayweather. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday it will have to be discussed by Congress because lawmakers are the ones who enact tax exemptions, special or general. Pacquiao has been dogged by unsettled tax obligations with the BIR. …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options