January 21, 2013
No matter that Old Crow Medicine Show’s original track isn’t even ten years old yet. Thanks to the proliferating powers of the modern age, “Wagon Wheel” has already become a chestnut – so much so that any new recording of it is bound to feel a little stale, even a long-overdue FM bid like this one.
It doesn’t help that the talented Rucker turns in an unusually bloodless vocal. And it almost kills it that labelmates Lady Antebellum join in on the chorus. For all their skill with pop harmony, the trio sounds lost trying to navigate this rootsier ‘grass-folk territory, with poor Hillary Scott winding up particularly sour in the final mix.
But Frank Rogers’ production retains many of the original’s simple charms, and ultimately the song itself still shines through. And it’s a classic song: simple, vivid, instantly singable, lovingly stitched together from a Bob Dylan bootleg ditty. If nothing else, it sets a good example for country music in 2013, and
its surefire success at retail may inspire a few imitators – which, as Ketch Secor showed us when he first mined that bootleg, is not always such a bad thing.
Written by Ketch Secor and Bob Dylan