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On placing the latest album from North Carolina’s finest, the Old Crow Medicine Show I did not know what to make of the breakneck paced opening cut “Flicker & Shine”. I felt it sounded more like a throwaway, fill-in sing-a-long track but as the song developed I became more settled (though still with reservations) and with the busy “A World Away” next up the boys (Ketch Secor, Critter Fuqua, Cory Younts, Morgan Jahnig, Chance McCoy and Kevin Hayes) steady the boat and then some. 

By the time you get to “Child Of Mississippi” they are cooking. Old fashioned southern style as they sing about riverboat wanderings of a past age and how those in the story knew every stretch of river and rail road bridge and love that muddy water most of all. Fabulous stuff. Nice work as a little harmonica, upright bass and banjo propel the lead vocals to a position of note. Better still you have the Johnny Horton styled “Dixie Avenue”; now this is going to be a huge live favourite. Primed in a hook rhythm and good old honest playing its an ace! 

“Look Away” is a Southern battle cry, and with it offering a melancholy feel as they reflect on the mournful call of the Mockingbird, and of how cold buttermilk and honey mean more than a bagful of money. They sing of how their heart will never leave ol’ Dixieland, the record, Volunteer becomes more appetising with ever track. On going lickety split the boys whip up a storm as old time mountain music is given new life on the banjo and harmony (enthusiastic) vocal plied “Shout Mountain Music”. If you can keep your feet still, and rear end sat on a seat listening to this you are in the minority. 

“The Good Stuff“ with generous helpings of fiddle to go with upright bass etc is about ‘good’ liquor, and as if to enable the listener to regain their breath next up the easy paced ballad “Old Hickory” follows. If you like nothing better than a poetic story-ballad,“Homecoming Party” is good enough to leave others in its wake. It caught me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting such rare quality. Great lead vocals too. Then again the album is produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson etc). 

On close down you have the swirling, fiddle charged instrumental “Elzicks Farewell”, and low and behold they round the album off with another terrific piece of storytelling via “Whirlwind”. My little piece of wisdom to share is, don’t judge the album by the opening track! 

    Maurice Hope 

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This site is the sister site to The House Concert Hub community and has been inherited in the main by kind donation of Shaun Belcher and Trailer Star.

It is the sum total of over ten years of tending a tender love of music by Shaun, a life time with Trailer Star and five or so years of an association with Rob Ellen from Medicine Music.

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September 2018

The Devil Makes Three
70 pts.
Chains Are Broken
New West
Jimmy LaFave
65 pts.
Peace Town
Music Road Records
Malcolm Holcombe
48 pts.
Come Hell Or High Water
Gypsy Eyes Music
Cody Canada & the Departed
47 pts.
Blue Rose Records
Jeffrey Foucault
43 pts.
Blood Brothers
Blueblade Records
The War And Treaty
42 pts.
Healing Tide
Thirty Tigers
Martha Fields
40 pts.
Dancing Shadows
The Weight Band
35 pts.
World Gone Mad
Must Have Music
David Olney
32 pts.
This Side Or The Other
Black Hen Music
The Black Sorrows
32 pts.
Citizen John
Blue Rose Records
Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis
31 pts.
Wild Wild Wild
Bloodshot Records
Hadley McCall Thackston
28 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
Nathan Bell
28 pts.
Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth
Angry Stick
Curse Of Lono
26 pts.
As I Fell
Submarine Cat Records
Ryan Martin
25 pts.
Gimme Some Light
High Moon
Stephen Simmons
25 pts.
Locke Creek Records
Jason McNiff
23 pts.
Joy And Independence
At The Helm Records
Jim Lauderdale
23 pts.
Time Flies
Yep Roc
Kevin Gordon
23 pts.
Tilt and Shine
Crowville Media
Eliza Gilkyson
21 pts.
Red House Records
Boz Scaggs
20 pts.
Out Of the Blues
Concord Records
20 pts.
Among The Ghosts
Thirty Tigers
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
20 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
The Jayhawks
17 pts.
Back Roads and Abandoned Motels
Lori McKenna
16 pts.
Cn Records

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