From busking in North Carolina to induction in the Grand Ole Opry and winning Grammys, Old Crow Medicine Show has popularized many old pre World War 2 songs with their old time sound fuzed with modern music.
Doc Watson heard the band busking in Boone, NC where the band had moved after forming in New York state. Watson invited the band to play at MerleFest, a show the band credits as having changed their lives. From there they relocated to Nashville, performing their street act at Grand Ole Opry summer music events.
In 2001 they got their first spot on the Grand Ole Opry. The four minute performance drew a rare first time standing ovation from the audience.
Old Crow Medicine show has struck a balance between playing old tunes and writing new ones that draw from that heritage. The bands most famous song Wagon Wheel is a great example. The chorus and melody comes from Bob Dylan’s work on the Pat Garret and Billy the Kid soundtrack, although it was never released. Ketch Secor of OCMS heard the demo and wrote verses around it.
The combination of new and old is important to the bands sound. Fellow songwriter Dave Rawlings agrees, stating: “I’ve always thought that a really important thing that the Old Crow Medicine Show brought to the table was new songs—some reinterpreted old ones, some really nicely written and brand new—with the old flavor, but also with that vitality.”