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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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May 2018

John Prine
67 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
Levi Parham
58 pts.
It's All Good
Continental Records
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
55 pts.
Texas, etc...
Michael McDermott
54 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
Sam Morrow
48 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
Caleb Caudle
39 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
Western Centuries
36 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
Carter Sampson
34 pts.
Continental Song City
Charley Crockett
30 pts.
Lonesome as a Shadow
Son of Davy/30 Tigers
Courtney Marie Andrews
28 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
Ed Romanoff
27 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
Joan Baez
27 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
Pharis and Jason Romero
27 pts.
Sweet Old Religion
Lula Records
Gretchen Peters
24 pts.
Dancing With The Beast
Proper Records
Old Crow Medicine Show
24 pts.
Columbia Records
Will Stewart
24 pts.
County Seat
Cornelius Chapel Records
Ben Reel
22 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
Birds Of Chicago
22 pts.
Love In Wartime
Signature Sounds
Emily Herring
22 pts.
Eight 30 Records
Jenny van West
21 pts.
Happiness To Burn
Mary Gauthier
21 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
Sarah Shook & The Disarmers
20 pts.
Bloodshot Records
David Starr
19 pts.
South And East
Cold Tone Harvest
18 pts.
After You
Grant Peeples
17 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2

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