American roots band Old Crow Medicine Show return with Volunteer, their first album of original material since 2014's Grammy-winning Remedy. It was recorded at the historic RCA Studio A and produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson). Since the release of Remedy, Old Crow Medicine Show has taken their versatility to another level, by not only reinterpreting Bob Dylan's seminal album Blonde On Blonde, but also collaborating with pop sensation Kesha. Volunteer is yet another fine example of how Old Crow Medicine Show remains one of the most vibrant and forward-thinking traditional bands of their time.
The songs on Volunteer illustrate themes that resonate far beyond Old Crow Medicine Show's diverse fan base, while also showcasing the depth in the group's songwriting. An album highlight "Look Away" inspired by The Rolling Stones, is Ketch Secor's homage to his love for the history, both sorrowful and joyful, of the South. "A World Away" is an upbeat homage to refugees, an extremely relevant subject matter that Secor has been writing about since he was young. "Dixie Avenue" pays a playful tribute to the Virginia location where Secor and bandmate Critter Fuqua fell in love with music. The album's final track, the bittersweet love song "Whirlwind," could easily tell the tale of how Old Crow Medicine Show built a successful career from the ground up.
The traditional string band incorporated electric guitar for the first time since 2004 (when Dave Rawlings put a Telecaster on the band's classic "Wagon Wheel"), on Volunteer, and the album also features Joe Jackson Andrews on his haunting pedal steel. Old Crow Medicine Show's recent accomplishments demonstrate that they still have the hunger to evolve and thrive in a variety of musical settings. While trends in music have come and gone, Old Crow Medicine Show has maintained their sense of integrity, continuing to share their infectious hybrid of traditional mountain music across the country.