Outtakes: Catching up with Old Crow's Ketch Secor

Road Talk



Sometimes I interview someone who has so much to say, it makes my job effortless. Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor was like that when I interviewed him a few weeks back — I just listened as he talked about his relationship with Critter Fuqua, life on the road, and his love of the South. He said so much, in fact, that I couldn't fit it all into my preview article, so here are a few extra nuggets from our conversations for your enjoyment. The Ketch & Critter concert is Thurs. May 24 at 9 p.m. at the Cistern.

"When you live on a tour bus, it messes with your head a little bit. You wake up and you don’t quite remember where you are, you just know you’ve got a show to put on that night. And when you peek out the little curtains on your bus and you try to sum up where you are, when you look out at a parking lot, what makes it Charleston, South Carolina if you can’t see the Spanish moss? What makes it Charleston if you can’t smell the fragrant air? If you’re just looking at a parking lot, what makes it Charleston? I would argue that it’s a song, that it’s a voice."

"I love playing in the deep South. I love playing in the rural South. I love playing in the places where the music feels like it’s coming home when I blow harmonica, when I sing a song that’s 150 years old, and you hear it live. I love performing outdoors for that reason too. The songs are like landscape paintings, and the songs really capture a place. I feel that they capture a spirit too that exists in a place."

"Regardless of race, class, or creed, you see a banjo, or you hear one, and young and old, you pantomime a do-si-do. It’s like engrained, like when you pull your hand away from a hot stove. When you see a banjo, you clap. You pretend to buck dance, even if you don’t know what that is, even if you’re four generations removed from anybody that ever went to a grange hall and danced with a girl and courted. A banjo brings that out, it’s a powerful force, and the response is even more powerful."

"Last time I was in Charleston, I just got on a bus and rode it until it came back to where I got on it. I do that in a lot of towns, but I love to do that in Charleston, because you just hear so much. You hear so many dialects, you hear about eight manners of speaking if you’re African American, and you hear foreign languages, too, because the place is jumping, crawling with people who are looking for the real Lowcountry life. And they’re speaking Danish to each other, they’re speaking Flemish."

"I do love traveling just as a duo, because in addition to being able to take our time getting places and to eat, which is wonderful, it simplifies things. If you do night after night with a big band in front of huge crowds and you get so that you’ve thrown away all your talents and specialized in everything, and all I do is play that show, I might as well go into a cocoon after it’s over."

Add a comment