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Old Crow throws a 'Humdinger'

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I love a good fiddle. Or two.

The crowd at the Old Crow Medicine Show Friday night apparently felt the same way. At times, the band had the audience members -- and a Clay Center usher or two -- on their feet and dancing.

One of the things that made Old Crow Medicine Show impressive was the ease at which the band members switched between instruments. During "Alabama High-test," front man Ketch Secor started out on fiddle but traded it out seamlessly for a harmonica in the middle of the song.

Another high point in the show came early on, with "Bootlegger's Boy," from the band's latest album, "Carry Me Back." During the song, Secor and Chance McCoy played an impressive, energetic fiddle duet, winning the approval of the crowd, which stood to its feet and cheered. At times, the fiddlers were standing back-to-back, playing at the edge of the stage.

Old Crow played most of the songs that die-hard OCMS fans have come to expect: "Methamphetamine," "Caroline," "I Hear Them All," "Humdinger" and "Take 'em Away," to name a few. They also covered George Jones' song, "Tennessee Whiskey," in honor of the late musician.

The biggest moment of the show was, without a doubt, when the band began to play the beginning chords of their hit, "Wagon Wheel." Nearly every person in the audience stood to his or her feet as if they'd been moved by the Spirit in a church service. As the song played on, some danced at their seat and most sang along.

The band knew its audience, which Secor referred to as "the most attractive group of West Virginians I've ever seen assembled." They played up the West (by God) Virginia references and called attention to McCoy, a Harpers Ferry native.

Secor once referred to West Virginia as "where hillbilly music comes home to roost."

"It's been way too long since we've been in the Mountaineer State," he said. "Way too long."

With any luck, they won't wait too long before they're back in West Virginia.

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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