Old Crow Medicine Show
WebsiteOld Crow Medicine Show
Plenty of contemporary bluegrass bands get by just fine on nimbly ringing strings and old-fashioned subject matter, but Old Crow Medicine Show has become one of the genre's most popular bands by often playing it slower and grittier, and sometimes replacing those sweet gusts of mountain air with whiffs of rural meth-lab waste. The Nashville band heartily embraces tradition in its instrumentation and rich sense of melody, just not to the extent that it cramps the songwriting. Last year's Tennessee Pusher has a dark drug theme running through it, yet still pulls off the festive "Humdinger" amid mournful tracks like "Methamphetamine." Either way, it's more dramatic than 2006's also-solid Big Iron World, if not quite as satisfying.