Old Crow Medicine Show @ Barrowlands, Glasgow for Celtic Connections 2013

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Walking back down the Gallowgate after this rousing night at the acclaimed Barrowlands Ballroom the conversation amongst the dispersing crowd was of how this used to be the sort of night frequently enjoyed at the venue; a proper Friday night at the Barrowlands.  While I never experienced the famed dance hall of the 50’s and 60’s, I had a clearer idea of what it must have been like after this gig.

Old Crow Medicine show are a fine band in the most traditional sense.  They are all brilliant musicians and a number of them play various instruments throughout the set.  This was a blaze of fiddles, banjo, harmonica and guitar as the Tennessee folk group played a wide-range of songs from their back catalogue.

Ketch Secor sought to endear himself to the natives with numerous references to Scotland and, somewhat oddly, Sauchiehall Street, which he managed to shoehorn into the Woodie Guthrie classic This Land Is Your Land.

But, really, this crowd-pleasing device wasn’t necessary as the strength of their songs and the quality of their music was more than enough to satisfy a sold-out audience.  New material such as Carry Me Back To Virginia and the wild Mississippi Saturday Night sat comfortably with Crow classics like Take ‘em Away, CC Rider and, of course, Wagon Wheel.

The attempts at pandering to the natives went a little too far with a cringe-worthy rendition of Paul McCartney’s Give Ireland Back To The Irish – with Scotland/Scottish naturally substituting for the Irish.  The political situation in Scotland is such that nobody here, let alone in America, knows what independence would bring and, as such, support for the SNP proposal is at an all-time low.

They managed to salvage the situation with an encore-closing performance of the Pogues classic Dirty Old Town, a decision which ended a thoroughly enjoyable set on a high and sending a couple of thousand people off into the night dreaming of the way things used to be.

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