An unconventional choice for the Grand Ole Opry.
When Nashville's Old Crow Medicine Show return to Overture Center on Oct. 3, they'll be riding high on two recent accomplishments: the release of a new album, Old Remedy, and their induction into the Grand Ole Opry.
"It was a bit like country music asking for your hand in marriage," Old Crow cofounder Ketch Secor says of the Opry's invitation. "It's just an overwhelming and 'I thought you'd never ask' kind of feeling. It's a bit like that year Miss America gets: Wear your crown as often as you can."
Over the past year Old Crow have performed several times at the Opry, which is a stage show, one of America's longest-running radio broadcasts and a hall of fame all rolled into one. Country star Marty Stuart attended one of the band's concerts to deliver the good news.
"It makes me proud of the band, but it also makes me proud of the Opry because we're not an obvious choice," Secor says. "I'm proud to be part of an Opry that's willing to take a chance on an old-time string band."
Stuart is one of many legendary songwriters who’ve reached out to Old Crow. The list also includes Doc Watson, who helped them get their first big break, and Bob Dylan, who inspired the track "Sweet Amarillo."
This attention has boosted the band’s confidence.
"Doc Watson in particular was someone who taught a whole generation about American folk music. For Doc to say we were really talented, it just means so much. These are the heroes, the constellations of American music, who we've been able to have shine down directly on us," Secor says. "Not only that, but we get to meet and have a beer with them."
Secor suspects Old Crow’s willingness to take risks has helped them get noticed as songwriters.
"It takes a constant state of reinvention to keep [the music] fresh," he says. "It is about performing for others, but you have to keep it interesting for yourself, too. So if you can do both, you're really rocking and rolling."
The other thing that keeps the band rolling is chemistry. Secor and fellow founder Critter Fuqua are longtime friends. When Secor looks back at their relationship, he feels both accomplished and youthful.
"It feels like I'm about 14 years old when we're making music together," Secor says. "There were some times during the course of our relationship when... things were really intense and really tough. But we weathered all that, and here on the other side it's just like being kids again."