by Bruce Sylvester
Old Crow Medicine Show has done a limited-edition reissue of its debut CD from 2000, Greetings from Wawa (Blood Donor Records). Revisiting old-timey Appalachian stringband music with a shot of rock and roll attitude, the disc is partly a radio transcription from Wawa, Ontario.
With sawing fiddle/banjo/guitar arrangements and high-pitched vocals borrowed from bygone decades, they rip through trad numbers like “Gospel Plow” (which Bob Dylan sang on his debut LP), "Kitty Clyde," concert fave “Reuben’s Train” and “Granny Does Your Dog Bite” along with a few neotrad originals (“Harley In The Ballroom,” bluesy “Wen They Wud No Crawfish”). OK, the audio isn’t always immaculate. That’s no big deal, given the disc’s spirit. Greetings From Wawa is available online (www.crowmedicine.com), at concerts and at a few exceedingly cool record stores.
By the way, Old Crow banjoist/fiddler Ketch Secor (one of the Crows who’s also in the David Rawlings Machine) is digging into his huge collection of vintage country – even hillbilly -- platters on his monthly radio show “The Old Time Hour With Ketch Secor” on Nashville’s WSM (home of the Grand Ole Opry, which once had such music on its stage). If you dug the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack, check Ketch’s selections by the likes of The Carter Family, Gid Tanner’s Skillet Lickers and Fisher Hendley & His Aristocratic Pigs. It’s the music that Bill Monroe drew on to create bluegrass.
The show’s not real easy to find WSM’s Web site. Go to www.wsmonline.com/audio_archives.htm and when the media player pops up, try to find a dark gray triangle in the upper right corner to the right of the word “Pam.” You may just have to click to the right of “Pam” if the triangle isn’t visible. Then scroll until you see the “guest host” category. Scroll down to find Ketch’s archived programs.