Old Crow Medicine Show - Big Iron World
Published in 2006
First off, let's all say thanks to Cole, for having an interesting enough life to make a blog about himself, and secondly for suggesting this album. So, thanks Cole.
As someone who is into music (could you guess), I have noticed something of a conspiratorial air about. Someone out there in the universe has declared that folk music is going to be the new thing for indie kids. Why this is happening, well I have some theories, but it's happening more and more, and the Freak Folk mantle is being brought up quickly to the in-thing.
As I said in my Mumford and Sons write up, I don't understand 'Freak Folk'. I understand that people don't want you to confuse old folk with new folk, and it is strange to hear the two versions in the same area, but really, is there such a big difference between classic folk and modern folk? Both of them deal with subjects that were important to those writing the songs. I don't think that folk has ever been considered the pinnacle of formulaic art, and actually one of the reasons it is folksy, is because it deals with realistic subjects important at the time of the song's writing.
One reason I think modern folk is doing well is because it is so appealing to a side of people who just want to hear good performers playing simple music. The nostalgia bumper crop appeals to people who either grew up with this on their radios, or (like me) listened to a lot of Prairie Home Companion as a kid. There is a certain appeal to this kind of music that sounds down home, and simple, and that is a beautiful thing.
Old Crow Medicine Show is a group that is making perfectly serviceable folk music. I mean that in the most neutral way possible. I don't think they are as good as Mumford and Sons, but that is because I listened to them first. I think they sound somewhat similar, although Mumford and Sons is a bit darker, and it makes a difference for the listening experience.
The lighter moments on the album though, are some of the best. I love that they included the singer screwing up on the first verse and the band starting again. I think that the funnier songs are good, and as a child of the I-95 corridor, good stuff is on this album.
I cannot say that this album is anything but optional, but if you're a fan of folk music and bluegrass, you should probably pick it up, it's fun and light and enjoyable. If you don't really like bluegrass, this could be a way in, but I'd look other places first.
Anyway, thanks again to Cole, I hope I did this album a little justice, and I can't wait to hear how I am wrong about it Mike H. style.
"Love is about compromises, Zorak, compromising your future to the city council of Bethesda Maryland."
Phil! Five? Give Him!?