Old Crow Medicine Show highlights the best of folk music

Folk music has evolved over the years becoming popular on its own and when mixed with other genres like indie and rock. But what happened to the folk music that encompasses the traditional country twang of the banjo and guitar, the metallic humming of the harmonica, or the fast and upbeat bowing of a fiddle? That original folk sound has made a comeback through the band Old Crow Medicine Show with their album “Volunteer” released on Apr. 20.
Having gotten their start busking, Old Crow Medicine Show now records in Nashville, Tennessee creating this traditional folk sound. While music with this sound often gets a bad reputation I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by “Volunteer”. I grew up listening to country classics like Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Brad Paisley, and Miranda Lambert, but Old Crow Medicine Show brings something different to the folk and country scene.
A unique sound, “Volunteer” really emphasizes what makes Old Crow Medicine Show unique: the rustic sounds. From hand clapping to whooping and hollering, the band really uses all the resources available to them to make the music stand out next to other folk and country music. Songs such as “Old Hickory” and “Shout Mountain Music” really bring out just the kind of sound that Old Crow Medicine Show can make. With warm vocals that are as smooth as molasses and the insistent bowing of the fiddle growing in intensity throughout each song, it’s hard not to want to sing along.
One song in particular, “The Good Stuff” was an interesting mix of folk and swing music. This song specifically was a favorite of mine because of how different it was compared to the other songs on the album. The lyrics were cheesy, but the instrumentals were really well done and brought me back to almost a Wild West mindset.
However, I will say that for all of the great aspects of the album, Old Crow Medicine Show only really had two types of songs on “Volunteer”: upbeat fiddle-driven songs that you could easily square dance to, and slow ballads about going home. There wasn’t very much variety so by the end of the album I really knew what to expect next.
Overall, “Volunteer” by Old Crow Medicine Show was a great listen for anyone who is interested in a traditional folk sound with a bit of country twang. With a warm and unique sound, they definitely bring something new to an old genre.