Quite a bit happened to, and for, Old Crow Medicine Show since the Nashville-based string band took a brief hiatus from August 2011 until the start of this year.
Founding member Chris "Critter" Fuqua rejoined the lineup after a nearly eight-year absence, while another original member, guitarist Willie Watson, left. The band was featured in "The Big Easy Express," a documentary about its 2011 Railroad Revival Tour with Mumford and Sons and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.
And Old Crow recorded and released a new album, "Carry Me Back," which was its fourth consecutive No. 1 on Billboard's Bluegrass chart and also hit No. 4 on the Country Albums survey.
"It was pretty crazy, I gotta admit," says multi-instrumentalist and co-founder Ketch Secor. "There is a sense of relief to have put out this album, just 'cause there was a long gap between the last one (2008's 'Tennessee Pusher') and this one. When Critter came back, it was like getting a new set of tires for the ol' truck, which was pretty exciting."
But while the group was refreshed, Secor, 35, says the goal of "Carry Me Back" was, as the title implies, to get back to Old Crow's old ways.
"We had really set our course on returning to being a string band, so we were anxious to have a record that showed that movement," he explains. We went in a lot of different directions over the course of the last 14 years, which was real natural. But in writing this record, I was really focused on those early days of Old Crow, especially the time we spent criss-crossing the South, making very little dough and playing really hard and driving really long to do it.
"Those were some of the most exciting things that happened to us, in those first three or four years. It was a great place to get back to on this album."
Old Crow Medicine Show and Robert Ellis perform Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 S. Main St. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $55 and $35. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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