Life in a touring string band is a balance of uncertainty, excitement and commitment. No one knows the insides of the curves on that road better than Ketch Secor, the frontman and main songwriter of Old Crow Medicine Show.
On "Whirlwind" – the latest song premiered from Volunteer, the group's new album out April 20th – Secor follows a couple through "a dozen little sleepy towns" as they face life's surprises and trials. A brushed snare taps a gentle gait, as delicately picked banjo and guitar undergird loping pedal steel and the song's soaring chorus harmony.
"Whirlwind" closes Volunteer, released during the band's 20th anniversary, in a reflective but not regretful mood. Secor found inspiration for the tune remembering a story he heard on one of Old Crow Medicine Show's long road trips.
"When I sat down to write 'Whirlwind,' I thought of my friend Gill Landry's paternal grandparents," Secor said. "They had just had some kind of major wedding anniversary, like 60 or 70 years. They got married when they were teenagers in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.
"There's a great power in the story of a marriage taking place amidst the great uncertainty of massive social upheaval that was happening all around with that generation," he continues, "particularly in the rural south. And that kind of story becomes a universal one in the context of country music, because no matter what your twist or your hurricane is, you've gotta ride it out."
Like the song's dancing partners, Old Crow Medicine Show have hewed their own winding path from the days busking on street corners to joining the Grand Ole Opry – including highs like the genre-crossing success of "Wagon Wheel" and winning a Grammy in 2015, through lineup shifts, a brief hiatus and the return of founding member Critter Fuqua.
Old Crow Medicine Show will mark the release of Volunteer with two performances at the Grand Ole Opry on April 20th and 21st, followed by a U.S. tour of headlining shows and festival appearances at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival in Meridian, Miss., and Bonnaroo.
Here are Old Crow Medicine Show's upcoming tour dates:
April 20 - Nashville, TN @ Grand Ole Opry
April 21 - Nashville, TN @ Grand Ole Opry
April 23 - Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
April 24 - Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
April 25 - Charleston, WV @ Municipal Auditorium
April 26 - Charlottesville, NC @ Sprint Pavillion
April 28 – Washington, DC @ The Anthem
May 3 - New Orleans, LA @ New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
May 4 - Meridian, MS @ MSU Riley Center For The Performing Arts
May 5 - Jacksonville, FL @ Moran Theater
May 6 - St Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Live
May 25 - Evans, GA @ Banjo BQ Music Festival
May 26 - Charlotte, NC @ Outlaw Music Festival at PNC Music Pavillion
May 27 - Cumberland, MD @ Delfest
June 7 - Little Rock, AR @ Clinton Presidential Park
June 8 - Robbinsville, MS @ Horseshoe Casino’s Bluesville
June 9 - Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
June 22 - Cincinnati, OH @ Outlaw Music Festival at Riverbend Music Center
June 23 - Noblesville, IN @ Outlaw Music Festival at Ruoff Mortgage Music Center
June 24 - Detroit, MI @ Outlaw Music Festival at DTE Energy Music Center
June 27 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
June 28 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
July 13 - Cleveland, OH @ House Of Blues
July 14 - Cooperstown, NY @ Brewery Ommegang
July 15 - Greenfield, MA @ Green River Festival
July 17 - New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall
July 19 - Hampton Beach, NH @ Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
July 20 - Providence, RI @ The Strand
July 22 - Shelburne, VT @ The Green at Shelburne Museum
July 24 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Electric Factory
July 27 - Dewey Beach, DE @ Bottle & Cork
July 29 - Floyd, VA @ Floydfest
August 15 - Kansas City, MO @ Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
August 16 - Salina, KS @ Stiefel Theatre
August 17 - Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheater