Old Crow Medicine Show delivered the same high-quality performance to a full crowd on Thursday, July 19, in the Egyptian Room at Old National Center, that they would have given on a street corner, in a barn or at their homes in Nashville. Their tour in support of Carry Me Back, released July 17, was kicked off to a roaring crowd in Indianapolis.
The band performs for the pure joy of song, hopping around the stage to play and sing beside one another. The set-list, heavy with tracks from the group's newest record, alternated between energetic dance numbers and folk sing-a-longs. Old Crow Medicine Show began with "Carry Me Back to Virginia," a driving tune laced with swift fiddle melodies which took the crowd from head-bobbing to dancing. Slower songs full of heartache like "Genevieve" garnered devoted vocal contributions from the audience.
This was an important concert for the band. They'd been reunited with founding member Chris 'Critter' Fuqua, returning from a hiatus to record and also recruiting new member Chance McCoy. The handful of live performances this year has been unusual for the group.
I caught up with one of the Old Crows outside after the show. Gil Landry, Dobro player and singer, was happy with the welcome and send-off that Indiana gave because the energetic crowd played to the band's strengths.
"We're a live band more than anything," Landry said. "We feed off the audience."
The songs played from Carry Me Back received ample support, many singing along to a record that had been out less than 36 hours. Landry was excited and relieved that so many had already taken his group's music to heart, though he was still unsure about the record's reception overall.
"It takes some time for a record to sit," he said.
But even the Old Crow Medicine Show songs that have had time to sit are beloved by fans, like the group's increasingly popular "Wagon Wheel," co-written by fiddle player Ketch Secor and Bob Dylan. Though the group seemed bittersweet about playing the hit when the song started, they all soon fell into the smiling musicians that make Old Crow Medicine Show such a pleasure to see, and joined the crowd in belting it out.
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