Not long ago . . .
July 12, 2007 3:03 PM   Subscribe


. . . I hear the sounds of tearing pages and the roar of burning paper.
All the crimes in acquisitions turn to air and ash and vapor.
And the rattle of the shackle far beyond emancipators.
And the loneliest who gather in their stalls. . .
posted by nola at 3:03 PM on July 12, 2007

Other videos from their site

The Groups main website.
posted by nola at 3:08 PM on July 12, 2007

Your favorite alt-country band sucks.

Listening to a self-righteous white guy in a cowboy hat harmonize about southern black poverty makes me cringe.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:12 PM on July 12, 2007

That's funny, knee-jerk reactions make me cringe!
posted by conch soup at 3:22 PM on July 12, 2007

I'm sorry, conch soup. I wish I had a receipt to show you I'd listening to the whole song. I really did, and I thought it sucked. And I've seen them live twice, opening for better bands, and I still thought they sucked. And I have a CD of theirs in my collection 'cuz a friend gave it to me for Xmas one year thinking I would like it and you know what? I thought it sucked.

So, sorry for my knee-jerk reaction. I'm obviously not familiar enough with their ouevre to have a considered opinion.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:36 PM on July 12, 2007

Listening to a self-righteous white guy in a cowboy hat harmonize about southern black poverty makes me cringe.

You forgot [NOT RACIST]

I liked it. Maybe if I listened to lots of that type of music it would seem cliched and obvious, but I don't so that sound always seems fresh to me when I do here it. Anyway, maybe you'll like this video more.
posted by delmoi at 3:51 PM on July 12, 2007

You know, delmoi, I do. I like that one more. Thanks. It's been a rough day.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:58 PM on July 12, 2007

I love these dudes, sorry we disagree bop, they're funny as hell, fun to hang around with in person and sing real purty.
posted by Divine_Wino at 4:00 PM on July 12, 2007

Your favorite alt-country band sucks.

They are not alt-country , they're Ctrl-Alt-Country.
posted by nola at 4:10 PM on July 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

From a picking standpoint, they leave a lot to be desired (I listen to bluegrass incessantly and often obsessively), but they put on a great show, sing like a mother and on the whole I dig 'em.

Somehow, they make a totally unsubtle tune like "Big Time in the Jungle" work swimmingly.
posted by kosem at 4:16 PM on July 12, 2007

They're country? I dunno, to me they sound like the reincarnation of ca. 1960 Bob Dylan. In any case the video is magnificent; that is exactly what it looks like to putter around New Orleans nowadays. And while the metaphor of waiting for the bus may seem heavy-handed, that's also pretty damn fair.
posted by localroger at 4:27 PM on July 12, 2007

Gillian Wlech likes them... that's probably enough for me to give them a fair shot at my affections.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:27 PM on July 12, 2007

Hey, the banjo kept playing even when the banjo player pulled his pocketwatch out of his pocket! How's he do that?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:30 PM on July 12, 2007

On the same subject, some might enjoy Won't Let The Angels Take You Away which is the story of a family of country/bluegrass musicians from the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, returning home for the first time after Hurricane Katrina.
posted by Sailormom at 5:37 PM on July 12, 2007

That was amazing Sailormom. I've not heard them before but I liked their playin'
posted by nola at 5:50 PM on July 12, 2007

I don't really like them, but watching them do The Weight with Gillian Welch is well worth your 7 minutes.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 6:01 PM on July 12, 2007

I started to watch the video to see what Clinch's version of New Orleans looked like and I stayed for the song. Nice post nola. I'll keep an ear out for Old Crow Medicine Show in the future.
posted by djeo at 6:34 PM on July 12, 2007

One of my favorite groups, and a very sweet vid. Thanks nola.
posted by StrangeTikiGod at 7:04 PM on July 12, 2007

Another great track from Old Crow Medicine Show, although I have to say that the 2nd album is not nearly as good as the first.

I saw these guys in Hampton, NH a few weeks ago. It was a pretty cool experience, I don't know if they're quite accustomed to receiving the affections of a few thousand apeshit Northerners quite yet. They really seemed to enjoy it though.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to implore the ownership of the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom to please re-inspect the structural integrity of the building. I've never seen so many people stomping and slapping their knees like madmen, at least this side of the Mason-Dixon...That place is old, after all...
posted by rollbiz at 8:06 PM on July 12, 2007

Heh -- rollbiz, we were at the same show. The floor was bouncing like a trampoline, and no, I don't think they're at all used to the degree of adulation that they got. I was really surprised that they had so many fans in Northern New England, as well - but really happy for them. It's clear that "Down Home" is getting a lot of play on college radio, judging by the roar of the young girls singing along.

This band is one of my favorites and has been for a couple of years. They're doing something very fine, working hard, spending a lot of time on the road touring, going back to early field recordings for knowledge and influences, reviving some excellent songs, and giving their audiences an honest good time.

From a picking standpoint, they leave a lot to be desired (I listen to bluegrass incessantly...

You're right that they don't play like a bluegrass band, but OCMS wouldn't want to be considered by a bluegrass standard. Their influences are primarily old-time (Appalachian) and jug-band music. Both have an ethos that's simpler, rougher, and more primitive than bluegrass. Lots of old-time fans actually dislike bluegrass for being too showy, polished, and professional. The simplicity and roughness is intentional - these guys can play. People who dig old-time have a lot of admiration for their unfussy, straightforward, high-energy approach. Their harmonies are terrific, too.

Not only does Gillian like them, her SO David Rawlings is their producer.

These guys are good, and they mean it. I'm happy as hell that they're around and that I can go hear them in kickass concerts like the one they gave here a couple weeks ago.
posted by Miko at 8:41 PM on July 12, 2007

Oops, I meant to include this article in my comment. It's an excellent band profile of OCMS from the Oxford American that I found really informative and enlightening.
posted by Miko at 8:43 PM on July 12, 2007

The band I currently play fiddle in started out as an Old Crow cover group. Basically, we were all in other bands, but loved the music so much that we'd sneak off and rehearse together without telling our other bands. Eventually we all quit our original groups and just started playing bluegrass.

Old Crow Medicine Show is the greatest thing to happen to American folk music since Bob Dylan.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:24 PM on July 12, 2007

Their influences are primarily old-time (Appalachian) and jug-band music.

Old Crow Medicine Show is the greatest thing to happen to American folk music since Bob Dylan.

If you're a fan of the old-timey, they're helping to keep it alive and more importantly to bring it to a whole cross-section of people who would've never been aware of it otherwise. If the health of this music is important to you (as it is to me), OCMS deserves at least a little of your respect whether you personally like everything they do or not.
posted by rollbiz at 6:10 AM on July 13, 2007

Sorry to have sounded [OLD-TIMEIST], or make a nitwitty appeal to authority based on my love for the high and lonesome. That comment made me sound a bit snotty, especially about a band I actually like. My limited and inartfully expressed point is that the few times I've seen them, I was underwhelmed by OCMS picking. Not, mind you, for it's lack of complexity (or speed or anything like that), but for its sloppiness. I'm sure that they are quite excellent musicians, but it did not so appear when I saw them.

In fact, I play, or at least attempt to play the old time on my ever frustrating and wonderful mandolin and will be sure to reevaluate OCMS next time they come through New York.
posted by kosem at 7:23 AM on July 13, 2007

its sloppiness

Right - that's intentional. It's part of the aesthetic, whereas in bluegrass, that technically-perfect sound is more valued.

The old-timey/bluegrass divide can get a little sensitive - amusingly so sometimes. You sounded nowhere near as dismissive as some bluegrass players I've talked to. No offense taken.

I like both forms, actually, but old-time has a raw visceral quality that I just get sucked into.
posted by Miko at 7:38 AM on July 13, 2007

its sloppiness

Right - that's intentional

And intentional sloppiness is no mean feat, either, and I ain't kidding. Generally when folks can "really play", to try to get them to play in a "rough", "primitive" or "unpracticed" way is, well, next to impossible. I know, cause I've tried it a lot over the years with various collaborators. It's a strange dichotomy, cause you want good players but you don't always want them to sound so damn good.

There are those who can do it, though. One great player comes to mind at the moment, who is a master of his instrument but can sound rough and primitive (when the job calls for it) is guitarist Marc Ribot.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:55 AM on July 13, 2007

And Thelonious Monk.

I never understood the rancor in the bluegrass/old-timey divide. It's one of the most ridiculous "debates" or "fights" in music.
posted by kosem at 8:04 AM on July 13, 2007

I recently spent a couple of months here, where there's a veritable cultlike devotion to this (the song, not the weirdly inappropriate video). It's a nice enough song, but I didn't get the obsession.
posted by kittyprecious at 10:14 AM on July 14, 2007

It's a nice enough song, but I didn't get the obsession.

As a veteran campfire player, I'm willing to assert that it's because that song is incredibly singable for many voices, (not having a huge melodic range), is easy to memorize, is rhythmic (a toe-tapper), has a measured pace that is easy to follow along with, has interesting harmonies, and is sweet and happy. Every time I've played it for your basic guitar-strumming audience, they've gotten into it, too. Some songs are just ideally structured - you could say engineered - for this kind of setting and audience.

See also: Brown-Eyed Girl, Hide Your Love Away, Proud Mary, Take it Easy....
posted by Miko at 8:03 AM on July 16, 2007

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