Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 4 Reviews

OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW
Sunday, Oct 3, 1:25 p.m.
Arrow Stage
Reviewed by Aimee Spanier

"We're gonna raise a ruckus tonight," threatened - no, promised! - Old Crow Medicine Show's Critter Fuqua. They fulfilled the promise immediately, with the song by the same name off their self-released CD, Eutaw, and quickly followed with the manic new song "Johnny, Get Your Gun." The rowdy and jam-packed crowd at the Arrow Stage roared in appreciation.

OCMS seems intent on being the ambassadors that finally bring bluegrass to the clean and coiffed west coast masses. They have a very rock and roll air about them, which makes them accessible to a young San Francisco crowd in a way that undisputed legends like Hazel Dickens or string band revivalists like the Crooked Jades aren't. But the distance between their world and the Bay Area isn't lost on them, nor will it stop them from trying to bring the two together.

"They sure put a lot of land between Nashville and San Francisco when they laid out the big plan," said multi-instrumentalist Ketch Secor. "Why don't we give them a taste of Louisiana?"

Thank you, yes, that'd be great.

"CC Rider" off their recent release, O.C.M.S., did that perfectly. It's a little sweeter and quieter than the earlier songs, and Fuqua's voice sounds like that of a broken but resigned man, much older than his (apparently) under-30 years would seem to allow. But these boys are not ones for moping, and they declared themselves "ready to hike up their britches and get in full-on assault positions," taking aim at "Cocaine," a stomping, harmonica-driven piece of rock.

Mellowing out again later in the set, Fuqua crooned the ballad "We're All In This Together" with guest performer Gillian Welch, followed by their rewrite of Bob Dylan's "Wagon Wheel," a favorite the assembled fans had been waiting for. A ruckus was successfully raised, and soothed, and a happy, tired audience was left nothing if not satisfied.

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