Noisetrade Indie & Alt-Country Roundup

By: Brendan

Anti’s Winter EP includes the legendary Bettye LaVette, Petra Haden’s great version of the Psycho theme, and a Shane McGowan/Johnny Depp sea shanty, of course!

Ato Records Spring Sampler includes several Muruch favorites: Old Crowe Medicine Show! Alabama Shakes! Brandi Carlile & Emmylou Harris singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads”!

Ben Sollee, Ron Sexsmith, Damien Jurado and Harper Simon are among the artists featured on this American Songwriter Sessions Sampler. I hadn’t heard of Harper Simon – his “Berkeley Girl” is a gorgeous song from another time.

Elsewhere: The Floyd Country Store Radio Show

By: Brendan

The Floyd Country Store Radio Show is a variety program unlike any you’ll hear on radio. It’s like a Mountain Stage/Prairie Home Companion crossover but more fun. Down home fiddle music, great Country voices, comedy skits and a whole lot more. Attending a taping is at the top of my wish-list. Here are just a couple of West Virginia-related highlights…

Old Crow Medicine Show’s Chance McCoy used to be in a band called Old Sledge with Floyd Country Store Radio co-host Anna Roberts-Gevalt. It’s a small world after all. McCoy was featured on the show in February 2012.

Charleston’s own John Lilly was featured in January 2013 – his Hank Williams covers are particularly noteworthy. You can also hear several John Lilly tracks on his Sonicbids site.

That’s all folks. Take it easy, but take it.

Buy John Lilly Music @ Amazon

The Voice: The Swon Brothers Cover Wagon Wheel

I wouldn’t have posted about The Swon Brothers’ cover of “Wagon Wheel” on last night’s episode of The Voice since I wasn’t particularly impressed by it, but for the fact that the performers and the judges incorrectly credited the song to Darius Rucker. I’m probably one of a thousand Old Crow Medicine Show fans who were shouting at the television screen as a result. Darius Rucker’s cover of “Wagon Wheel” has brought the song and Old Crow Medicine Show some welcome and much deserved attention, but if you have never heard the original (which is so superior to these covers it’s laughable), you are really missing out. Check out the original by Old Crow Medicine Show, and the inferior covers, below. Then check out all the Muruch reviews of Old Crow Medicine Show and you’ll understand why I think the Swon Brothers are mediocre.

Buy Old Crow’s Original @ Amazon

Buy Darius Rucker’s Cover @ Amazon

Buy The Swon Brothers Cover @ iTunes

Old Crow Medicine Show: Live at The Clay Center, 5/24/13

Old Crow Medicine Show has long been one of our favorite bands here at Muruch, so I was thrilled to see them in concert at The Clay Center tonight.

The stage was lit with what appeared to be vintage glass baubles hanging from the ceiling and a ghostly mist rolled through as opening act Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys took the stage. They gave a peppy, old-fashioned set. I loved their retro Spaghetti Western vibe and harmonies. Mead’s croons and yodels are from another era. They elicited a standing ovation from the crowd with a twisted song about The Andy Griffith show featuring a pot smokin’, moonshine drinkin’ Opie.

Old Crow Medicine Show then took the stage, launching into the title track from their 2012 album, Carry Me Back. From the opening notes they had members of the audience on their feet dancing in the aisles.

They ripped through “Alabama High Test” with flashing lights and roadies switching out guitars for harmonicas mid-lyric.

Lead singer Ketch Secor threw out a lot of love to “the Charleston skyline,” “the Mountaineer state,” “the KRT bus terminal,” “the Kanawha Valley” and “where hillbilly music comes home to roost, West-by-God Virginia,” which earned him a lot of love in return from the exuberant local crowd. It also helped they have local boy Chance McCoy in the band.

There’s no greater musical sight to this country gal than a string band huddled together jammin’. And it must be said Secor plays his fiddle like Eddie Van Halen plays his electric guitar.

The concert was comprised of newer material from the Carry Me Back album as well as some gems from their earlier works.

Most notable was the rousing fan favorite “Wagon Wheel” from their debut, O.C.M.S..The song was written with a co-authoring deal with Bob Dylan, and it is by far OCMS’ best known, beloved and oft covered tune. The entire audience was on their feet cheering and singing along for the duration of the song and the band seemed to pause after it to stare, soak in and appreciate the adoration of the crowd.

Despite my disappointment with 2008′s Tennessee Pusher album, Old Crow’s “Methamphetamine” was one of the most powerful live performances I’ve witnessed.

I had hoped to hear more from 2006′s brilliant Big Iron World (#2 on my Best of the Decade list and one of my all-time favorite albums), but they did play “Cocaine Habit,” “Union Maid” and a soul-stirring, harmonious mashup of “I Hear Them All” and “This Land is Your Land.”

Other highlights were “Mississippi Saturday Night,” “Humdinger,” “CC Rider” and “Big Time in the Jungle,” but it was really a fantastic concert from beginning to end. One of the best I’ve ever attended.

Old Crow Medicine Show have a rare mix of chemistry, energy and artistry. They masterfully bridge the gap between the downhome bluegrass (and blues) past and rowdy rocked up modern Americana. They built the multi-instrumental, multi-genre stage groups like The Low Anthem, The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons now play upon.

OCMS’ sweet backwoods harmonies and barn burning instrumentation made for a very lively, impressive and thoroughly entertaining show.

Though it must be said the true star of the show was the Grassy Knoll Boy I believe Mead called “Reverend Dan,” who popped back on stage to “buck dance” during Old Crow’s set. That dude had pizazz.

Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys joined Old Crow on stage for encore duets of Mead’s old BR549 hit “Cherokee Boogie” and a concluding cover of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

Upcoming Local Concerts: Carrie Underwood, Shawn Colvin, Old Crow and more!

May is going to be a spectacular month for concerts in Charleston, WV…

Country star and former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood will be at the Charleston Civic Center, with opener Hunter Hayes, on Wednesday, May 8th. Look for my review of that concert in next Thursday’s edition of The Charleston Gazette.

Lyle Lovett will visit The Clay Center on Friday, May 10th.

Comedian Lewis Black will hit The Clay Center on Thursday, May 16th.

Singer-songwriters Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter will perform as a duo during an extended set at a special Mountain Stage at The Clay Center on Sunday, May 19th. Crooked Still’s Aoife O’Donovan is also on the lineup. As an almost lifelong fan of Shawn Colvin, I’m very excited to be reviewing the show for Muruch.

The free Live on the Levee summer concert series will return to Charleston on May 24th. The acts haven’t been announced yet, but I do know Kathy Mattea will perform in June during Festivall week.

Just when you think it can’t get any better, Old Crow Medicine Show will put on a full concert at The Clay Center on Friday, May 24th! OCMS is one of my favorite modern bands, so reviewing their concert for Muruch is also cause for much excitement.