Ato Records …………
Career best from old-time/ bluegrass/folk stars
Old Crow Medicine Show have a fair claim to being the outfit that first took old time and bluegrass music out the back and gave it a roughing up. They had the chops of their be-suited forebears but not the slickness and in their wake followed a raft of down and dirty,
‘street’ bands doing much the same thing. Now, 16 years after their first recording, their new album shows that they are still at the top of the tree with no real peers.
From the opening notes of the delightfully titled Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer they do what they do and do it superbly. There are harmonies and great playing, of course, but more importantly – much more importantly – there’s fire, passion and a raucous good time. 8 Dogs 8 Banjos whistles along at a breakneck pace, a hoedown to beat them all and the poignant Dearly Departed Friend gives time for pause and reflection. Then there’s Sweet Amarillo, another Dylan song, sent to the band by the great man in the wake of the success of the new ubiquitous Wagon Wheel. And so it goes on, one great song following another.
The whole thing zips along at a cracking pace, and while the closing prison song The Warden is good but does feel a little as if it’s come from a different album, that’s a small criticism of an album that is as good as anything they’ve ever recorded – which is saying something! Jeremy Searle