The 10 Best Old Crow Medicine Show Songs of All-Time
Music holds no boundaries, and it connects people from different backgrounds as it is a universal language. Ketch Secor and his friends began Old Crow Medicine Show in September 1998 when they were only teenagers.
They did not know where the music would lead, but they decided to play their way out of Ithaca to Canada and across the Pacific. The passion has not dwindled, with Secor saying they have only needed to change the lineup to reflect growth. The band has released several albums, and here are some of the best Old Crow Medicine Show songs of all time.
10. Angel From Montgomery
“Angel From Montgomery” is John Prine’s original recording. Prine worked as a mailman, and as he delivered mail, he would compose lyrics to songs he hoped to record. To him, delivering mail on his routes was like going to a library without books.
This song is about a middle-aged woman who felt much older than she was, and since Eddie Holstein wanted to cowrite, Prine floated the idea to him. However, Holstein turned down the offer, so Prine wrote the lyrics on his own. It became one of his most famous songs, and Old Crow Medicine Show covered it in 2010.
9. O Cumberland River
Old Crow Medicine Show recorded yet another song to pay tribute to a natural resource, the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. The band sings of how the river flows through a guitar town and they must be referring to Nashville, home of country music. They even say that locks and bars were not made to last and nothing can be built to ever hold the river back. This could be referencing the many alterations that Cumberland River has undergone to prevent extensive flooding.
8. James River Blues
According to Virginia, Old Crow Medicine Show has roots in Virginia so it was only logical that they paid tribute to one of the natural resources, the James River. As the blog post further states, the song “James River Blues” also pays tribute to the men who transported goods along the waterway thus the lyrics are written from the perspective of such hardworking men. It was written by Secor, Willie Watson, David Rawlings, and Critter Fuqua.
7. Carry Me Back to Virginia
This song should not be confused with “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” by James Alan Bland. Bland’s song is about freed slaves. Bland was a self-taught banjo player and composed the lyrics on a ride to Virginia during a trip to meet the parents of Mamie Friend who would later on become his wife. On the other hand, this song by Old Crow Medicine Show seems to reflect the war. It talks about how some people lost their legs but still wanted to return home to Virginia so they ask to be carried back to their hometown after the fight is over.
6. Dixieland Delight
According to Everyday Should Be Saturday this song was originally performed by a group called Alabama. It contains some vulgarity, such as having sex in the truck but still, the song has been played in home games. However, students in Alabama tweaked the lyrics to their liking, and it ended up being removed from the game day in 2015. It still found its way back in 2018, being allowed so long as the vulgarity was removed. Old Crow Medicine Show covered it and found little success with it.
5. Sweet Amarillo
After the band’s song, “Wagon Wheel” was covered by Darius Rucker and topped the charts, another Bob Dylan creation was handed to Old Crow Medicine Show. Since “Wagon Wheel” is based on a chorus Dylan had written, he was curious about what the band would do with yet another of his unfinished pieces. Thus, he gave them the original lyrics to “Sweet Amarillo” so the band could work their magic. Secor finished writing the lyrics, and sent the song to Dylan, seeking his opinion. They followed Dylan’s advice regarding the changes they should make and recorded the song.
4. Down Home Girl
This song has been covered by so many artists that most fans do not know who did the original recording. The lyrics were penned by Artie Butler and Jerry Leiber and the first recording was by Alvin Robinson in 1964. However, it did not do well on the charts but the Rolling Stones still thought it had potential and covered it in 1965. The Astronauts did their version also in 1965 and Old Crow Medicine Show was not left behind.
According to an interview with Pop Matters, Secor wrote the lyrics to this song drawing from his experience. He referred to addiction as the Grim Reaper who had managed to mess with people’s lives. Secor said that addiction had been in the tour bus for two decades. When they moved to the mountains, they witnessed prescription adduction since crystal meth and oxycontin were yet to be sold. The song talks about how drugs mess up people’s lives, leaving them jobless and on the streets begging for money.
2. I Hear Them All
Secor revealed to NPR that this song is all about listening, He explained that it is about urging people to be empathetic and humane because all the sounds you are making are the same others are making. However, unless you listen closely you will not hear them. The music video was directed by Danny Clinch, a renowned photographer, and film director who is best known for photographing Tupac Shakur’s tattooed torso. This song’s video was so good that it even was nominated for the CMT Music Awards in the Wide-Open Country category.
1. Wagon Wheel
Darius Rucker may have popularized this song with his version, but the original was by this band. The chorus was written by Bob Dylan, who penned “Rock Me Mama” in 1972 for a song he never finished writing. In 1995, Secor heard a bootleg recording of the chorus and decided to complete the song, thus he wrote about a hitchhiker. The band recorded it in 2004, and it was released a year later, making it their biggest hit.
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