Saturday, November 7, 2009

Best of the 00's: Big Iron World

On the cool flow, floatin down, down below the bridge to the waters edge from the ridge to the ledge from the hills to the sea, I'll become a memory James River Blues... (Old Crow Medicine Show - James River Blues)
The first decade of the 21st century is coming to a close. I am going to blog about some of my favorite cd's, concerts, songs of the 00's.

A friend of mine gave me a copy of the Old Crow Medicine Show's O.C.M.S. and from my first listen it struck me as something completely different; not quite bluegrass, more of old time string band music played by punk rockers. I caught a live concert of the Old Crows where they opened for Nickelcreek. I was hooked and I have seen them a couple times since.

Both O.C.M.S. and the follow up Big Iron World are great listens, but I favor Big Iron World, only slightly. Released in 2006 and produced by David Rawlings (Gillian Welch's musical partner) the cd strikes the right ballance of covers and originals. It has an old time sound, but yet sounds new and origianl.

The opening song, Down Home Girl written by Leiber and Butler was also featured on an early Rolling Stones album. The song is so seductive and Willie Watson singing just fits the blues sound; Ketch Secor turns in a great performance on the the loose concert favorite and believe it or not an old traditional tune called Cocaine Habit; Minglewood Blues is an up tempo bluegrass tour de force; My Good Gal written by Ketch Secor is nice slower pace with interesting lyrics;

James River Blues is the highlight of cd. The song is about how a boatman and his boat being replace by train and rail system: "I think I'll flow on down to Richmond town, They don't need us anymore, Haulin' freight from shore to shore, That big iron hauls much more than we ever could before". The song strikes the perfect tone for the story that it is telling; great, great song.

New Virginia Creeper is a bouncy little ditty with sexual overtones about the train line that begins in North Carolina and heads down the mountains of Virginia; note that now the train tracks have been taken up and the trail has been turned into a beautiful bicycle trail. Union Maid is a typical Woody Guthrie song about the plight of the little man (in this case little woman); Let It Alone is another traditional song that Willie Watson nails; Don't Ride That Horse is a laid back song with a tall tale that may be about the band on tour; Bobcat Tracks is one of those perfect tunes for the real life kind of ordinary story that it is telling.

Old Crow Medicine Show has been in my cd player or on my ipod alot this decade. I suggest that you find Big Iron World and prepare to travel back in time or to the future, I'm not exactly sure.

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