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Old Crow Medicine Show

Big Iron World [nettwerk]

October 1, 2006  |  11:44am
Old Crow Medicine Show

Any band trafficking in old-timey sounds risks crossing the fine line between celebrating its influences and mummifying them. Working from a musical template that stopped evolving, oh, 70 years ago, OCMS manages to stay on the right side of this line on its sophomore disc. Ketch Secor’s originals sound comfortably at home among the traditional folk, blues and country numbers, and by investing his tunes with a puckish modern sensibility, they manage to avoid sounding mannered or fusty. While it’s unlikely that any of the new material will be mined by future generations the way Secor mines the work of Woody Guthrie (whose “Union Maid” appears here), fiddle-and washboard-driven tracks such as the jaunty, surreal “Bobcat Tracks” and the lovely, despairing “James River Blues”—not to mention an Elijah Wood name-check on “Cocaine Habit”—prove OCMS understands that folk music is meant to be played, not studied.

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