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COUNTRY, MUSIC

Old Crow Medicine Show talk the origins of Wagon Wheel + Sweet Amarillo and working with Bob Dylan

July 7, 2014

Not a lot of artists can say they have a working relationship with Bob Dylan, but Old Crow Medicine Show have a different story.

In 2004, they famously reworked Dylan’s Wagon Wheel, a song originally outlined by Dylan and later completed by OCMS’ Ketch Secor. Later, the track became so well known that it got covered by everyone from Against Me! to Mumford & Sons to Darius Rucker. Needless to say, it would seem OCMS has a gift for working with Dylan’s unfinished material, and they’ve recently done it again with a track called Sweet Amarillo, which appears on their just-released album, Remedy.

OCMS chatted with Outlaw Country host Elizabeth Cook during an album premiere event at the SiriusXM Music City Theatre in Nashville, where they went into detail about the origins of Wagon Wheel and completing Sweet Amarillo, this time hand-picked by Bob himself.

“Back in the early ’90s, [we heard this] bootleg of Bob singing this song called Rock Me Mama, which was an outtake from this film called Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid,” began Secor. “Well, it seemed like this song Rock Me Mama got shelved because it wasn’t finished, and then right after that Bob said something like, ‘I got this other new thing,’ and he started playing Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”

“Rock Me Mama has this spirit in it that’s just like Knocking on Heaven’s Door. So I stuck it in my coat pocket and took it home with me and I finished it. And we started singing it on the street corners of where we played, and everybody liked it! Then we recorded it and got Bob’s permission. So for us to get [Sweet Amarillo] from Bob is making a full circle on this project that started 20 years ago when Rock Me Mama became Wagon Wheel.”

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