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Old Crow Medicine Show

A Conversation with Ketch Secor of OCMS

Puremusic: Hey, Ketch, this is Frank Goodman at Puremusic. How you doing, man?

Ketch Secor: Hi, Frank. Pretty good, how about yourself?

PM: Very good. Where do I find you today?

KS: You find me in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, at the eighth inning of a game between the Baltimore Orioles and the Montreal Expos.

PM: Excellent. So it's the top or the bottom of the eighth?

KS: It's the top of the eight, the sides have just been retired. It's three-nothing Expos. The Expos are playing pretty well. I'm impressed.

PM: [laughs] Are you pulling for the Orioles or the Expos?

KS: Well, I'm in an Orioles stadium.

PM: Right.

KS: I mean, Ft. Lauderdale is where they play, so I'm trying to keep my spirits up for the hometown crowd, but I'm cheering for the Expos, because I think they're such a bunch of losers that I really want to see them do well.

PM: [laughs] Yeah. So you're just back from South By Southwest [a huge musical event throughout the many musical venues of Austin, with bands from all over the country vying for the attention of labels, bookers, sponsors, managers, and fans].

KS: That's right.

PM: I've never been. What's that like?

KS: Well, it's pretty crazy. It's lots of people from foreign countries.

PM: [laughs]

KS: And that was sort of a surprise to me, because I think even more so it's become an international affair.

PM: Really? That I didn't know.

KS: But it's a lot of music industry types, so it ends up coming off like one of those corporate retreat kind of deals, everybody's got name tags. And it's like you're always on the job, you know.

PM: And everybody's drinking to beat the band, or what?

KS: Well, there's a lot of people boozing it up, a lot of people yucking it up, and people looking to get jobs, and trying to remember the guy you walked into the bathroom with, who your seat mate was on the shuttle, and stuff like that.

PM: Right. How many shows did you guys play down there?

KS: I think we played four.

PM: And were you kicking ass everywhere you went or--

KS: Well, last year we were really kicking ass at South By Southwest, and it directly resulted in us being signed to Nettwerk. That all took place there. So last year was really our year. And this year at South By Southwest was not quite so grand.

PM: And why, would you say?

KS: Because all the cool stuff already happened to us.

PM: Right, you already had Nettwerk behind you.

KS: And South By Southwest seems to be all about getting behind young artists. And I feel like we're already on our way, and I think it was understood. "Well, the Crows have a record out. They've got a booking agent. They've got a label. They got management, all that other stuff."

PM: "Don't worry about them, they're fine."

KS: Exactly. And everyone's really looking for the young pups who don't have all that stuff yet.

PM: And did you see any young pups who looked like tomorrow's candidates?

KS: Open Road. It's a bluegrass band from Colorado, finest bluegrass band I've seen under twenty-five.

PM: Really?

KS: Yeah, in my life.

PM: Oh, wow. Okay, we're getting right on them. And as far as one could tell, didn't even have a label, is that right?

KS: They had some kind of interest. They were talking about who liked them and everything. But that's what all the guys talk about.

PM: Right. [Actually it turns out that their new release on Rounder Records hits the streets May 4th.]

KS: It's kind of a flavor of the month vibe.

PM: [laughs] So what about at night--would it be hell raising at night, or early to bed? Or what's the deal?

KS: Well, we raised some hell. We always raise a little. But we had just come off the road on a seven-day run with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, so we were pretty whooped by the time we got to South By Southwest. Last year I think we really tied one on, but this year it was pretty mellow for the Old Crows.   continue

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