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."

___

Online:

http://www.crowmedicine.com

___

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.

Loading...

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.

  • Muslim group calls for universal peace
    Muslim group calls for universal peace

    As predominantly Catholic Philippines and the rest of the Christian world observe the Holy Week, peace advocates like the Young Muslim Professionals Network (YMPN) are appealing to Filipinos of various creeds and persuasion to embrace the universal message of kindness, love and peace. The group issued the call as peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front teeter due to the Mamasapano incident where members of the rebel group killed 44 police commandos on a …

  • Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage
    Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage

    A former World Bank official has warned of dire consequences for the Philippines if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not passed into law. Nigel Roberts, former director on conflict, security and development, said that more conflict could occur without the BBL. “It takes about 15 years to get back to pre-conflict GDP growth rates, and 20 years for trade to recover,” Roberts said in his blog at the World Bank website. The World Bank estimated that economic losses amounted to $10 …

  • Despite typhoon, summer is here
    Despite typhoon, summer is here

    Super Typhoon Chedeng roared toward Luzon as the weather bureau announced the official start of summer in the country yesterday. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced yesterday the official start of the dry or summer season in the country due to the termination of the cold northeast monsoon. “The general public is advised to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress and take note of the need in optimizing the daily use of …

  • Noy told: Just answer the questions
    Noy told: Just answer the questions

    Just answer the 20 questions. The Makabayan bloc of seven party-list representatives made this appeal to President Aquino yesterday after his spokesman claimed the Chief Executive has already answered most of the questions posed by the militant lawmakers regarding the Mamasapano incident. For instance, he said the President has not yet explained why he allowed then suspended Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima to take the lead in Oplan Exodus or the mission to …

  • DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah
    DFA: Malaysia paying rent for Sabah

    Malaysia does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah but the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) maintained yesterday that the Malaysian government is paying rent for Sabah, indicating it rightfully belongs to the Philippines. The Malay Mail Online reported that Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Malaysia has not and does not acknowledge the Philippine claim over Sabah when asked by media about the reported offer of the Philippine government to downgrade its Sabah …

  • 63 OFWs returning from Yemen
    63 OFWs returning from Yemen

    Sixty-three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are set to return home from war-torn Yemen, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. Baldoz said the licensed recruiters of the OFWs have assured the government of their immediate repatriation. Administrator Hans Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration has ordered the recruitment agencies to fulfill their obligation to bring home the OFWs. Baldoz called on Filipinos still in Yemen to avail themselves of the government’s …

  • Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup
    Jinggoy gets furlough for shoulder checkup

    Despite opposition from ombudsman lawyers, the Sandiganbayan yesterday granted detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s request to undergo a medical checkup at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital. Estrada was allowed to undergo a medical examination for pain in his left shoulder from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The senator was ordered to shoulder the expenses incurred by the Philippine National Police in  escorting him. In a pleading filed Monday with the anti-graft court’s Fifth Division, Estrada’s lawyers …

  • Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak
    Tekken’s Josie Rizal gets flak

    A professor of the University of the Philippines yesterday hit the portrayal of a Filipino character, whose name was based on Jose Rizal, in a Japanese-produced video game. “(It’s) offensive and unsuited for a big company like Bandai because they have the money to do research,” Gonzalo Campoamor II, professor of Life and Works of Rizal in UP Diliman, told The STAR. Japanese giant Namco Bandai recently introduced Josie Rizal, the first Filipino character in the popular fighting game franchise …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options