Old Crow Medicine Show captured their performance of Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde when the band performed the album in its entirety at the CMA Theater, located inside the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. OCMS has released live tracks from the show to tribute the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the seminal albums with 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde, supplementing the celebration with a tour that continues to play all Bob, all the time. Re -working and re-imagining tunes has been part of the Old Crow Medicine Show live show since they were busking on street corners in New York state and up through Canada during their early days. The recording of 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde brings the songs back to Nashville. Bob Dylan entered a New York studio to begin recording for the album in October 1965. Those sessions produced only one track and at the suggestion of producer Bob Johnston, Bob Dylan headed to Nashville with band members Al Cooper and Robbie Robertson to finish the project. They entered CBS Studios in Nashville, Tennessee in early 1966, surrounded by A-list session players from Music City (the Nashville Cats), and completed the recording in February and March of 1966.
Old Crow Medicine Show has had a history with Bob Dylan that goes beyond his songs, Core members of Old Crow, Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua, met in eighth grade, bonding over the music of Bob Dylan. Dylan’s songs became a constant conversation for the pair that developed into a lifelong friendship and produced a band. While still a teenager, Ketch Secor wrote “Wagon Wheel” using a rough outtakillee from the Dylan album Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid to co-author the tune with Bob Dylan. For their last studio album, Bob Dylan again lent snippets of lyrics to the band for their track “Sweet Amarillo”. Old Crow Medicine Show have shared a life with Bob by their side, and they return the favor with 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde, magically transforming the songs for a string band.
Old Crow Medicine Show opens on a light-up-and-leave-me-alone anthem with “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”, letting a pounding beat lead into the chorus of ‘everybody must get stoned’. The band tear up the turf, kicking the concert into high gear as they burn down the barn with a Blonde on Blonde ode to love on “Pledging My Love”. The songs of Bob Dylan have become the fabric of many lives, not just for the boys of Old Crow Medicine Show. 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde offers musical accounting from fans of the songs as it keeps the original rhythmic pace in place for “Absolutely Sweet Marie”, strums heart and soul by offering “Just Like a Woman” as a tender ramble, brings “I Want You” back to their busking days, breathes rock’n’roll into “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” with an ebb and flow groove, and wears “Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat” into a jug band revival. Old Crow Medicine Show fast track getting stuck in Mobile as they rush the rhythms for “Memphis Blues Again”, and quiet the mood for “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)” as 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde celebrates its golden anniversary with the shine of strings as notes and chords sparkle in “Visions of Johanna”.