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Old Crow Medicine Show: 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde

by Mike Ayers on July 12, 2017
It’s hard to think of any artist you’d want messing with Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, but Southeast punky-country outfit Old Crow Medicine Show have dared to do so—and pull it off with surprisingly refreshing results. Technically billed as their sixth album 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde is a live album the band recorded in May 2016—the performance was put on at the request of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which was celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dylan’s masterpiece. You’ll notice from the onset that Dylan’s influence runs rivers through Old Crow frontman Ketch Secor’s veins. His phrasing on classics like “Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35” and “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)” rings close to that late-‘60s Dylan snarl. And depending on how you feel about Dylan’s annunciation, every word on longer songs like “Visions of Johanna” and “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” have a clarity that you’re not used to hearing in Bob these days. For those Dylan fans that love his ‘70s era “Rolling Thunder Review” band, Old Crow’s banjo and fiddle blessed arrangements are reminiscent of those times. They’re energetic, freewheeling and raw, a sound that encapsulated that Dylan era. Dylan covers are a dime a dozen, but no one ever seems to take on an entire album—for good reason. These are sacred artifacts that people should rarely mess with unless it’s by the man himself. But with “50 Years,” Old Crow Medicine Show have turned their love of Dylan into a very fitting homage—and one worth a repeat listen.
Authors: Mike Ayers
Artist: Old Crow Medicine Show
Album: 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde
Label: Columbia Nashville