Monday, November 03, 2008

Old Crow Medicine Show - Tennessee Pusher (Nettwerk, 2008)

OCMS evokes old school Americana, so much so that you'd expect Bill Frisell or Charlie Haden to pop up on one their gigs (have they?) I think much of what turns me off to modern country music is the smarmy nature of the "cry in you beer" ballads and the "rally round the flag" rockers. Please, don't give me any more of that pretentious bullshit. Thankfully, OCMS avoids those pitfalls for truly swinging old-school bluegrass and western swing and some really inspired songwriting. Of all the songs that have invoked the death of Martin Luther King Jr., few have the power and the sadness of "Motel in Memphis" which is so haunting it literally sends chills down my spine. Contrast that with the hysterical rave-up of "Hundinger" with the unforgettable lines of "... we've got wine, whiskey, women and guns... if you're not a right-winger, then we'll all have a humdinger..." Hunter S. Thompson would feel right at home in that crowd. When they're not running whiskey and drugs on "Alabama High Test" and "Tennessee Pusher" they are reeling from the effects on the very disturbing "Methamphetamine." Real country music is dangerous stuff, and thankfully OCMS realizes this and hasn't pulled any punches. This is strong music. Tennessee Pusher (

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