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4.7 out of 5 stars
Carry Me Back
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Format: MP3 Music
Old Crow Medicine Show's hiatus didn't last long: announcing the break around August 2011 only for it to be concluded by December 2011. The hiatus came with change though -- founding member Willie Watson and mandolist Cory Younts parted ways with the band, and founding member Chris Fuqua rejoined for recording. Even though the member lineup may have changed, the band's sound for CARRY ME BACK stayed largely the same (Willie is featured on many of these tracks).

Marked with stand-up bass, fiddles, mandolins, and acoustic guitars, Old Crow Medicine Show has a very old-timey sound. The band pulls the sound off well, pleasing both fans of folk and bluegrass. Opening and title track "Carry Me Back" is a brisk, bluegrass tune that is both a great way to start the album and good message-statement to the world. The album follows the pace set by this title track: CARRY ME BACK stays upbeat, and its brisk pace makes the album over before you even know it. That's not too say the album feels too brief (the album is 37:01) -- it just feels like a bunch of friends having a good time. When the band slows its pacing for a few songs, it's to good effect ("Genevieve" and "Ways of Man.") While the band feels somewhat anachronistic in the modern day, they do a good job sounding like authentic pre-World War II musicians.

CARRY ME BACK will please both newcomers to the band and longtime listeners. Fans of the folk-based sides of Mumford and Sons, Trampled by Turtles, and the Avett Brothers might enjoy what Old Crow Medicine Show has to offer. This album also marks a good place to start listening to the band -- even though the music is very niche, it's very accessible. However, if you weren't convinced by the band's past work, this album won't change your mind. Standout tracks to sample/download: "Carry Me Back," "We Don't Grow Tobacco," and "Genevieve." Although past efforts might be a bit more consistent (like O.C.M.S.), CARRY ME BACK is a great entry to the band's discography.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Dear Music Appreciators,

I know of a pretty famous and oft-awarded pop bluegrass band that uses multiple lead singers, and honestly I get nervous whenever they switch away from their star vocalist because I'm afraid I'm not going to like those songs as much. Not so with Old Crow Medicine Show. For one thing, this isn't pop bluegrass is it - this sounds like some kind of cocaine fueled punk rock hillbilly house party.

OCMS seem to be a band in the best sense of the word. Not only are the members playing and harmonizing like a tightly-knit family, but they also have three outstanding lead vocalists - kind of like an all male redneck Fleetwood Mac I guess...but hopefully without the affairs. ..

There is an urgency, confidence, and authenticity to this music that is contagious. Notice the double-time tempo right out of the gate on album opener (and title song) "Carry Me Back." On "We Don't Grow Tobacco" there is something haunting about the singer's swaggering sadness, and when I heard the lines "I would chop that wicked weed / till our hands and fingers bleed / working like a mule, maybe more" I knew I would be hooked for the rest of the album. Then comes "Levi" - a touching, down-home, sing-along story song about Iraq war casualty Leevi Barnard. Three songs, three different flavors, not a phony second to be found - it's appropriate that the band name contains the word "show" - because just like an old-timey variety show the band seems to be care that its audience has a good time and there is a little something for everyone here.

And that's just the first quarter of the album.

This album made me feel like I was wearing a wife-beater with my hair slicked back and a cigarette behind my ear driving a beat up classic car fast down a dirt road in the deep south with the windows down.

Buy this, and get in touch with your inner hillbilly.

Sincerely,

Constant Listener
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 18, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Garrison Keillor calls them an old-timey band, and that they are. It's bittersweet to hear this record and know that their sound will be significantly different from now on.

My personal favorite is Big Iron World, and this CD is not up to that level. Carry Me Back focuses more on the sizzling fiddle and less on the soaring harmonies. However, it's a good time, and there really isn't a weak track in the bunch.

The title track, Carry Me Back to Virginia, is written from the perspective of a soldier who fought with his brother in the Civil War. Track 3, Levi, extends the theme by portraying a country boy who fought and died in Iraq. Although the songs deal with classic tragic themes, the music is lively and inspiring. In fact, many of the songs here are pretty downbeat if you just focus on the lyrics, but the music lifts you up.

My favorite song is Country Gal. It is the lightest in tone and comes out of nowhere with a snippet of Hey Good Lookin' by Hank Williams. I love songs that you can sing along to the very first time you hear them.

The songs on this album reward continued listening. The lyrics are strong. These boys tell a good story, and each song is really a little party. The exception would be the final song, Ways of Man, which is more reflective and much quieter. It's an interesting way to end the album.

My favorite part of this band are the harmonies. You can't really get much better than OCMS singing I Hear Them All. The harmonies here are not as sustained or jubilant. Still a worthy addition to their canon. I really hope the group can evolve after the departure of Watson and Younts. Nobody else really does music the way they do, they have created their own niche. Mumford and Sons, Trampled by Turtles, Avett Brothers have similar characteristics, but to my mind OCMS inhabits "old-timey" like no one else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2012
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
THIS IS AWESOME! It's the first thought that came to mind while I listened to this new OCMS release. I have to admit I was bracing for dissapointment after suffering through their last release 'Tennessee Pusher'. There was a few honorable mentions on that release, but overall it was a huge let down to me. I couldn't understand why they decided to reinvent the wheel after they had released their most sucessful album 'Big Iron World' to critical acclaim. However, 'Carry Me Back' finds Ketch and the crew back on track with a fervor that I have not really seen before. The writing and performances are excellent and show a lazer point focus. It's almost overblown - their way of saying sorry to the fans? Only time will tell.

Carry Me Back isn't really meant to be theme driven, but yet I do find a reoccuring theme in the beginning of the album. It's seems to point at the degradation of classic southern culture and the old way of life. It also shows that a country boy can survive by any means necessary, especially if that's all he has left. The first five songs echo this idea. Then we shift gears and start burning it up. 'Mississippi Saturday Night' and 'Steppin' Out' are definite barn burners. It's a hyper active ho-down. Then they slow it down a bit with 'Genevieve' so our heads don't explode. This is an interesting song from newer memeber Gill Landry and it's good to hear a new voice in the band. I have a feeling we'll be hearing more from Gill now that Willie Watson has left the band - Willie's leaving is very unfortunate. Next is a Kevin Hayes song 'Country Gal'. I always look forward to Kevin's songs because he's got a unique way of spinning a tune. He always delivers a fun and memorable sing-a-long and this time around is no different. 'Country Gal' harkens back to Big Iron World and I love it. The rest of the album is good but it starts to gradually wind down and have no problem with that. All in all, this new release is a fun ride and it demonstrates a higher level of skill from the OCMS. It's good to see them grow in their abilities and yet hold on to the old timey sound of their earlier releases. I higly recommend this record.

Unfortuantely this album brings forth yet more line-up changes for the band. Cris 'Critter' Fuqua left after they toured for Big Iron World (glad I got to see that tour) leaving a sizable hole to fill. Gill Landry was brought in to fill the position and he's done a really good job. However, filling Willie Watson's shoes is not going to be so easy. Critter was always more of a background guy where as Willie is a frontman with a big and unique voice. It's going to be tough to find someone of his caliber/talent and have the diehard fans accept it. Also, Cory Younts, the extra hand that does a little bit of everything in the band has parted ways too. This maybe very noticible during live performances. We will have to wait and see if Ketch Secor has any aces up his sleeve. For the band's and fan's sake, I sure hope that he does.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2012
Format: Audio CD
"Carry Me Back" is another solid release by Old Crow Medicine Show. The band turns another corner in its song writing, showing marked maturity since "OCMS" and more complexity since "Tennessee Pusher," which was also very strong.

One of the most interesting developments in this release is the band's decision to return to an old-timey sound. "Tennessee Pusher" was an interesting and welcome separation from the more traditional sound that has been a feature of Old Crow's sound since emerging on the scene. "Carry Me Back" puts Ketch's fiddle and a frailing banjo back at the center. In addition, Ketch's rambling, gambling style of singing is back in full force. It's one of his strengths, so it's good to see he is rolling with it. It is also great to hear the songwriting contributions from other members. Aside from Ketch and Willie Watson, no other members made consistent, significant songwriting contributions in the past. The songs this time around are energetic, lyrical, and unique. It's great to hear the group's growth, which seems limitless.

The elephant in the room on this release is the presence of Willie Watson. He is no longer in the band but, as usual, he provides some of the strongest contributions. He is the strongest singer in the group, and his lyrics are the most sophistocated. I have no doubt that Old Crow will have success without Watson, but losing him is a heavy blow. In sports we talk about "special" players. These are the players who put their team in a position to win every time they are on the field. However, without this special player, the team is often above-average at best. This is the impact Watson has, both in the studio and live. He is a game changer, a special player, a star. I was shocked to hear that Watson left the group. Who knows why, but it must have been a big decision, both for the group and for Watson. Old Crow will have to regroup to replace his unparalelled contribution.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I am a huge fan of all of Old Crow's albums up until their last one, which was Tennessee Pusher. It was way too twangy and county-pop-ish (if that makes sense), whereas up until then all of their albums were closer to bluegrass and old-time, which is why I fell in love with the group to begin with. Don't change what ain't broken, right?

Now with Carry Me Back, Old Crow has returned to their former glory: all-out bluegrass that is closer in musical style to their Eutaw and O.C.M.S. albums. At the same time, though, this album definitely has its own distinguishable sound that proves the band is constantly growing and maturing. In my opinion the CD as a whole is a little edgier and rawer, especially for Old Crow, with more bluegrass and less old-time. Obviously this is debatable. Either way, if you love Old Crow for their previous albums but were disappointed with Tennessee Pusher, then you'll continue to love them with this release. I found there to be several strong tracks on this album during my first listen-through, which is a pretty good indication to me that it's a solid collection of songs. There is much good to be said about the lyrics for many of the songs, as well, especially for those such as "Carry Me Back" and "Levi." Any fans of Hackensaw Boys, Trampled by Turtles, Carolina Chocolate Drops, or bluegrass/old-time/folk in general should definitely pick this one up.
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on July 15, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Continually impressed by OCMS as a voice for the working-class and middle America. I shaded "Levi" and "Carry Me Back to virginia" with a middle school history and language arts class and it was a vlauable learning tool as they drew parallels to the woes of the Civil War and what we have been fighting in the Middle East...patriotism for the sake of patriotism and the lives of young people and family's at home turned upside down. This album is so politically charged and this new folk-revival that American music finds itself in will look at OCMS as the roots of that revival like Dylan, Guthrie and Seger before them.
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on July 13, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
What energy! Can't wait until I get a listen to their newest work.
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on July 12, 2014
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
Real foot-thumping music!
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on July 7, 2014
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
Fine musicians that are simply fun to listen to.
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