Old Crow Medicine Show celebrate 25 Years with Jubilee, a spirited celebration of roots music with guests including OCMS co-founder Willie Watson, the legendary Mavis Staples, and Sierra Ferrell.
Grammy-winning trailblazers Old Crow Medicine Show are commemorating a remarkable 25-year journey with their aptly named album, Jubilee. Produced in collaboration with Matt Ross-Spang (known for his work with Jason Isbell and St. Paul & the Broken Bones), the album was recorded at the band's own Hartland Studios. Its eclectic yet down-home repertoire spans from jug-band melodies to Irish folk ballads and uplifting gospel jams.
The lead single, "Miles Away," is a tenderly introspective song co-written by bandleader Ketch Secor and Molly Tuttle. Featuring guest vocals from Willie Watson, the track signifies Watson's reunion with OCMS after over a decade. Watson is also set to accompany the band on their fall tour as both an opening act and will join them on stage.
Secor offers insights into the song's essence, sharing, "This is a song that brings the past into sharp focus, where reflections in the rearview mirror are often more immediate than they appear. A quarter-century of making music on the road has us returning to familiar places, yet as different individuals. There’s a touch of nostalgia for the past and the choices that shaped us. Molly Tuttle and I joined forces to write this tune, and upon its completion, I felt compelled to invite my Old Crow co-founder Willie Watson to contribute. After all, 'Miles Away' conveys a message of reconciliation, of forgiving past transgressions and embracing renewal."
While tracks like "Miles Away" exude a melancholic weight, much of Jubilee encapsulates the unbridled enthusiasm that Old Crow Medicine Show effortlessly channels during their live performances. The album ardently reaffirms the band's commitment to creating roots music that brims with a palpable urgency. The outcome is a collection of songs that radiates expansive creativity, spotlighting the band's musicianship and their gift for weaving poignant, yet strikingly trenchant narratives. Jubilee is also a companion piece to their acclaimed 2022 release Paint This Town, which dominated the Americana Radio Albums Chart at number one and debuted at the top of Billboard's Bluegrass Albums Chart.
Outside of Jubilee, in a show of social conscience, Old Crow Medicine Show released the potent protest anthem "Louder Than Guns" earlier this year. Penned in the wake of the tragic Covenant School shooting, the song emerged as a rallying cry against gun violence. Ketch Secor, a father of two and co-founder of The Episcopal School of Nashville, used his voice to unify Nashville's music community in advocating for gun reform. He also authored a poignant guest essay for The New York Times.
Secor underscores how Old Crow Medicine Show's enduring passion for injecting traditional music with contemporary relevance has been pivotal in their enduring success. "As songwriters and performers, our inclination leans towards addressing current issues that resonate with our society, our nation, and our cherished Southern roots. As long as these dynamics persist in our world and as long as we have banjos to pluck and fiddles to draw, you can rest assured that our commitment to crafting this brand of music will remain unflagging. It's simply become second nature to us."