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R K Pope

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A Spoonful of Sugar , Review (sort of) of an Old Crow Medicine Show Show
By R K Pope
Wednesday, November 16, 2005

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A Spoonful of Sugar

Old Crow Medicine Show

A Spoonful of Sugar

Ms. Poppins' remedy was definitely not a necessity Saturday night, as the band Old Crow Medicine Show entertained those at Freebird Live at Jacksonville Beach, Florida. All the crowd needed was a dance floor and room in which to move their feet to the sounds on stage.
Songs from the setlist -- Tell it to Me (of course), Tear It Down (a couple of times), Utah, Alabama, Shack #9, C.C. Rider. They also played some I wasn’t familiar with – new and old. I enjoyed them all, especially the one about not riding a horse. One of the final songs, a Dead tune – ‘Saturday Night’ My only disappointment was that they did not play ‘Take ‘Em Away.’

You were right about the volume of shredded guitar strings, Rick. It was crazy how many times he had to replace them. Ketch joked that Willie was trying to set a record. Willie did have a back up guitar, but it still wasn't enough to eliminate the pauses between songs. The reaction from the crowd when Willie broke a string right on the first note of 'Tear It Down' was an appropriately collective 'awwwww.' No worries about the sans-music stretches as Ketch does a great job keeping up a running commentary -- keeping the crowd interested and energized simply by naming parts of Florida. It is funny how much pride one takes in having their hometown talked about on stage, or on national television or in a song.

The crowd was a diverse one. Before the show, we met our ‘neighbors’ – a young, married couple. Talk about a real OCMS fan ---- she was sporting a Hillbilly hat and was 8 ½ months pregnant!!! We then met Sherry (or Kerry, we weren’t sure, it was difficult to hear) and her friend Lisa. Sherry-Kerry was a huge fan, and made some remarks about the band and what she would like to do with them that I am too ladylike to repeat. Let’s just say she REALLY liked the band. Unfortunately, she got very drunk during the show, and I’m sure she will not remember much of it. We met another friend duo who asked me to take their picture. One of them actually got to hold Willie’s hand after the show. I was SO jealous!!! There were some older folks there who you could tell just had a love for that kind of music. I only saw one guy in overalls and a camouflage hat. There were beach people, hippies, hillbillies, and, of course, the requisite halter-top-wearing teeny boppers, hugging the stage as if their lives depended on it. We all had one thing in common --- we liked us some Old Crow Medicine Show!!!!

Well, except for Karen. She is such a good friend. She agreed to attend this show with me, and knew nothing of the band, not even the type of music they play. I can honestly say that I would not have been as generous, not where music is concerned. There is no way in the world I would go to a Britney Spears (shudder) concert. I would rather be burned alive.

I debated on the way to the show whether or not I should let Karen listen to some OCMS before we got there. Given a past experience with some Bluegrass music, I was doubtful that Karen was really going to like them. The band takes their tunes a step further, going beyond Bluegrass – I’ve heard their music described as ‘old-time.’ I was highly doubtful she was going to enjoy herself. And, I’m not a completely selfish person. Despite the fact that I was beyond excited to see them again, I was worried she would not have a good time.
I decided that it was only fair to clue her in to what was in store for the evening. I popped in the OCMS CDs and held my breath. To say that she was ‘not impressed’ is an understatement. I believe her exact words were “I’m overdressed. This is Hillbilly music, I should have worn my overalls.” As if she owns a pair. I chastised her and gave her strict instructions to go into the show with an open mind. “First, I want you to just pay attention to how well they play the instruments in the first place; then focus on how incredibly amazing it is that they play so fast!” This is what I would tell anyone. Whether or not it’s your style of music is secondary to the fact that the talent you are witnessing is unquestionable. I don’t like opera music, but I can appreciate and admit that it is talented.

In order to protect OCMS from any further harsh words, I switched to Susan Tedeschi.

[Aside: Yes, Mr. Scovill, I checked out some of her music. Yes, you were right, I like her stuff. But I hope that you know you have created a monster, because in my car, I think I AM Susan Tedeschi.]

Karen is a good sport, though. She stuck it out through the whole show. There was a lot of dancing going on. I think some thought they were in a mosh pit. I found it kind of comical, Karen looked tolerant. About halfway through, she suggested that she stand off to the side to allow the dancers more room. I don't know how I did it, but I talked her into remaining on the dance floor. I was doing my best to include her and suck her into my enthusiasm, but didn’t feel I was doing a very good job of it. I finally gave up and decided to just enjoy the show. By the last five songs, I was AT THE STAGE right along with aforementioned teeny-boppers. I felt guilty though and turned around to look for Karen. Guess where I found her, right behind me, even dancing to the music a little.

On our way back to the car, she actually admitted that though she didn’t think she’d like them, and wasn’t into them at first, she sort of felt drawn into the music. ‘I think it’s their energy,’ she said. Oh my gosh, do we have a convert?!?!? The fact that it is Karen Sue just blows me away. She is the last person I thought I would sway. She even wanted to listen to them on the way home. You’ll never guess which of the band was her favorite!!


You all have no idea how difficult it was NOT to use the phrase 'eat crow.'   

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