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OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW — VOLUNTEER (Sony Music)

www.sonymusic.com

www.oldcrowmedicineshow.com

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.

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July 2018
1
American Aquarium
93 pts.
Things Change
New West
BK,TJ,JB
2
Gretchen Peters
56 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
ML,GF
3
Patrick Sweany
51 pts.
Ancient Noise
Nine Mile Records
FC,RK,BM,CVL,TK
4
Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore
47 pts.
Downey To Lubbock
Yep Roc
SP,JBO,JJC
5
Melissa Carper & Rebecca Patek
34 pts.
Brand New Old-Time Songs
Independent
 
6
Ry Cooder
33 pts.
The Prodigal Son
Perro Verde Records
DH
7
Jenny van West
32 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Independent
RST,NC
8
Brooks Williams
30 pts.
Lucky Star
Red Guitar Blue Music
 
9
Levi Parham
29 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
 
10
I See Hawks in LA
26 pts.
Live and Never Learn
Western Seed Records
WR
11
Rory Block
25 pts.
A Woman's Soul
Stoneyplain Records
MB,AL
12
Phil Cook
24 pts.
People Are My Drug
Thirty Tigers
LK,JD
13
Mike Aiken
23 pts.
Wayward Troubadour
Northwind Records
BP
14
Karen Jonas
22 pts.
Butter
Independent
HVB
15
Buckley
21 pts.
Las Cruzes
Rum Bar Records
 
 
John Prine
21 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
 
17
Neko Case
20 pts.
Hell-on
Anti Epitha
MW
 
Sam Lewis
20 pts.
Loversity
Loversity Records
HDB
 
Verbraak Van Bijnen
20 pts.
Endless Road
CRS
HH,TV
20
Jesse Dayton
19 pts.
The Outsider
Blue Elan
LM,SZ
21
Dieter van der Westen Band
18 pts.
Me and You
Independent
 
 
Hadley McCall Thackston
18 pts.
Hadley McCall Thackston
Wolfe Island Records
CRS
 
Willie Nelson
18 pts.
Last Man Standing
Legacy
 
24
Carter Sampson
17 pts.
Lucky
Continental Song City
 
 
Tami Neilson
17 pts.
SassaFrass!
Outside Music

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