Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tear It Down

I had the distinct pleasure of once again seeing one of my favorite bands take to the stage and deliver a raucous set that proved rather definitively that they're one of the best live bands going.

Old Crow Medicine Show made its fourth stop to Little Rock and first at the 600 seat Revolution Room which was packed to the gills with Fat Tuesday revelers, new fans that have become acquainted with the band through its appearances on CMT and other television outlets, and old fans who discovered the band busking on the street or in the pages of the Oxford American magazine.

For the uninitiated, Old Crow Medicine Show play Country Music. But they don't play the slick, polished pop/rock with a twang that passes for country today. They don't even play what you might call "classic country." No, these guys would've been called "old-timey" by Hank Sr. OCMS' passion is for the itenerant country, folk, and blues "string" and "jug" bands that traveled the American backroads prior to the Great Depression, before even radio was a reliable avenue for popularizing music. Clearly, these guys live and die for this music, but instead of the staid reverence of most folk music societies, OCMS attack the songs with a ferocity akin to punk rock, reinvigorating them with the eternal energy of truly timeless music.

Old Crow Medicine Show has released five albums (and a few EPs) since the 2000 release of its first independent cd, "Greetings From Wawa." For my money, you can't get a finer introduction to the group than its second full-length release, "Eutaw," and the concert recording "Live," both released independently in 2001 and 2003, repectively, before the group hit the big time. These cds are not available in stores, but can be purchased through the band's website or at shows. But a love for these early releases should not imply a slight to OCMS' major label releases: "O.C.M.S." (2004) and "Big Iron World" (2006), both of which would make fine additions to your music library and are readily available where ever music is sold. You can hear a few songs at the band's myspace page, as well.