Old Crow Medicine Show Reflect on Grammy Win, Nashville Isolation
Last night, after the 57th annual Grammy Awards came to a close in a sea of Prince cameos and Kanye West rants, Old Crow Medicine Show split into two groups. Most of the guys wanted to celebrate their newest award — a golden gramophone in honor of 2014’s Remedy, which had been named the year’s Best Folk Album earlier that evening — by hitting the town and bouncing between afterparties. Co-founders Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua, on the other hand, just wanted to grab something to eat.
“A couple of the boys went out to the parties thrown by the labels,” Secor says the following morning at LAX, while waiting for an 11:45 a.m. flight to take his band back to Nashville. “Me and Critter took off our Manuel suits and put on our sneakers and sat down at Chipotle, where we ate burritos and talked about how surreal the whole thing was until 2 a.m.”
There was a lot to talk about. Back in 2002 — two years before Old Crow released “Wagon Wheel,” the song that more or less kickstarted the band’s career — Secor and company drove to Los Angeles to perform at a Grammy party as Ricky Skaggs’ opening act. It too was a surreal experience. While audience members like Dr. Ruth looked on in bewilderment, Old Crow ripped their way through a set of loose-limbed country tunes that were as raw and rough as the bandmates themselves.
“Man, we were pretty greasy,” Secor admits. “We were stinking up the joint.”
That same year, the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack took home a handful of Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. Old-timey roots music had officially made a comeback, and Old Crow Medicine Show — whose own songs mixed the dirty stomp of rock & roll with the tradition and twang of Appalachian music — stood to benefit from the renewed interest. It took more than a decade, though, for the guys to ascend the long ladder from Grammy party participants to Grammy Award winners.
“When we won the first time, it was for a long-play video,” says Secor, referring to the music documentary Big Easy Express that earned the band a Grammy award in 2013. “Now we’re starting our 18th year as a band, and it took all that time to get good and make a record that could become the folk album of the year. It took all those years to become the band we were meant to be. It feels pretty powerful to get that recognition now, because we’ve put out a lot of albums — but it was this one that took home the golden gramophone.”
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