Over the last two discs, Big Iron Worldand their self titled album, Old Crow Medicine Show attempted to bridge two worlds of bluegrass. The traditional sound often heard at the Grand Old Opry was strong throughout their oeuvre, but youthful energy enabled them to dabble in a new, improvisational version of the Appalachian form. On their latest offering, Tennessee Pusher, Old Crow Medicine Show masters both with such originality that the recording rises high above the genre’s usual fare.
The first sign that OCMS are presenting a winning formula is on "Alabama High-Test," a sure-footing stomp that opens up the songwriting talents of fiddle-harmonica-banjo player Ketch Secor. "The Greatest Hustler of All" finds Secor joining forces with guitar/banjo player Willie Watson. OCMS’s penchant for tales from the wrong side of the law is once again examined on "Methamphetamine," a rousing sing-a-long. Long time collaborator David Rawlings adds extra punch to the song’s compositional framework. Morgan Jahnig’s steady supporting bass lines prop up "Crazy Eyes" and the MLK inspired "Motel in Memphis." Critter Fuqua’s vocal harmonies color the humming "Next Go ‘Round" and wild party anthem, "Humdinger." Sure to be favorite request on the road, "Humdinger" exemplifies the hidden charms that resonate inside the versatile roots oriented unit.
Produced by Don Was, Tennessee Pushertravels the country’s back roads to deliver gripping tales and loose limbed rave ups. It is a sure fire classic, and the best Old Crow Medicine Show release in their growing catalog.
Tennessee Pusheris out now on Nettwerk Records.