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June 2024
Vol. 23, No. 9

Featured Stories

Old Crow Medicine Show: Still Going Strong After 25 Years

by Dwight WordenJune 2024

Members of the Old Crow Medicine Show.

It was 1998, when a rag tag bunch of mostly teens, with pawn shop instruments in hand, left Ithaca, New York for Canada, planning to play their way across the continent to the Pacific Coast. From the band’s website:

[We traveled to] downtown street corners across Ontario, to paper mill towns above Lake Superior, farmer’s markets in Manitoba, Indian reservations in South Dakota, and out to the streets of Vancouver and Victoria, Seattle, and Portland. Along the way we discovered a unique country sound both old and new. Foreign and familiar. We knew we had captured something special.

After 25 successful years, Old Crow Medicine Show has proved its point and then some. Their long trajectory after two cross-country trips took them to North Carolina where they worked the tobacco fields, made corn whiskey, and learned from local old timers, all the while honing their considerable musical talents. Membership in the group has been fluid over the years with a few key anchoring members. An early chance encounter on a curb in Boone, North Carolina with Doc Watson led to a gig at Merlefest that brought considerable recognition to this eclectic group. From there, Old Crow Medicine show moved to Nashville.

Exposure on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion and on The Conan Show brought the group wide-spread attention. Couple this with a relentless touring schedule and Old Crow Medicine Show became a well-known modern string band playing its unique mix of old and new. Then, in 2008, with the addition of mandolinist Cory Younts, the band began to include more rock ‘n’ roll in its live shows and in its recording sessions. A Grammy win and induction into the Grand Ole Opry in 2013 were but a way stop of recognition for the band’s ever-evolving path. In 2019, percussionist Jerry Pentecost and a number of other new players joined the band, and once again the group ramped up its sound, especially the live shows.

During the pandemic, the band had a trio of hits, including its Hartland Hootenanny Live Stream that was seen by well over 100,000 views and featured Billy Strings, Jim Lauderdale, and other standout performers. In 2022, the band released its all original Paint This Town album to critical acclaim, and saw it land in the top five of American Radios 2022 Album and Singles Air Play Chart.

In 2023 Old Crow Medicine Show celebrated a quarter century of performance and recording, releasing its latest album Jubilee. Over its 25 years the band has played a dozen or more foreign countries and has performed live all over the U.S. including at Telluride, Bonnaroo, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Newport Folk Festival.

Where will Old crow Medicine show take us next? Well, they’ll perform at the Escondido Center for the Performing Arts for starters. Otherwise, we’ll have to wait and see, but we can be assured it will include great music, wonderful live shows, and creativity galore. Hey, remember, this is the group that brought us Wagon Wheel noted by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as one of the top five country singles of all time.

Do yourself a favor and take in one of their shows. Or at least check out a YouTube.

Old Crow Medicine show will be at the Escondido Center for the Performing Arts on Friday June 14, 2024 at 8 pm.

 Get your tickets here:

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