Ketch Secor serenades a Canadian local in "Black Haired Québécoise," a forgotten, decade-old Old Crow Medicine Show track that'll see the light of day next week, when the band releases its first Best Of compilation.
Tracked during the same recording sessions that spawned 2006's Big Iron World, "Black Haired Québécoise" is a bilingual barn burner inspired by a trip north of the border.
"One often overlooked region where country music is king is the Canadian province of Quebec," says Secor. "Cross the border at Maine, Vermont or New Hampshire, and you'll find rows of cropland, tractor lanes on the roadway, signs in French for diners, taxidermy shops and all-night truck stops. Dances still thrill on Saturday nights, where accordions and pianos lead frantic circles and squares. Quebecois people, young and old, know something about country music; they've been making it for a century and more."
Secor and bandmate Critter Fuqua began traveling to the area when they were still in their teens, banking on a change of scenery to pump new inspiration into their songwriting engines. It worked.
"We wrote this song together after such a trip," Secor remembers, "dreaming up a narrative of a southern truck driver hauling timber to the pulp factory, breaking down in a snowstorm and meeting a beautiful Quebecoise girl. We added a little French dialogue to the story, and hopefully nobody up there minds our lousy grammar. Like it says in the song, 'Mix Quebecois with my southern drawl – oh well, man – c'est la vie!'"
One of two unreleased tracks to be included in next Friday's Best Of Old Crow Medicine Show, "Black Haired Québécoise" adds a jolt of history to the album's hits collection, capturing the young band during a rousing, ramshackle recording session with producer David Rawlings.