Old Crow Medicine Show


COOPERSTOWN — Show No. 1 of opening weekend for Brewery Ommegang's 2017 Summer Concert Series was a piece of CAKE, so it's on to the next — Old Crow Medicine Show, who will perform Sunday at 7 p.m.

Under an overcast sky, alt-rock group CAKE played all the favorites, taking an intermission halfway through the night and coming back to finish strong. The trumpet was blaring, the vibraslap was on point, and frontman John McCrea was clearly having a good time.

In true CAKE tradition, the band gave away a sapling, and McCrea, an activist for various causes, spoke from the stage about power, the “winners and losers” in life, and freedom.

And the crowd loved it.

Highlights of the night included “Short Skirt, Long Jacket,” and a rousing cover of Black Sabbath's “War Pigs.”

On Sunday, Old Crow Medicine Show will take over the brewery stage.

The Scene caught up with fiddle-extraordinaire Ketch Secor to talk Dylan, playing Frisbee, and what it's like playing at Ommegang for the fourth time.

In late April, Old Crow Medicine Show released “50 Years of Blonde on Blonde,” their take on Bob Dylan's classic album. To celebrate, they're touring the United States, United Kingdom and Netherlands performing “Blonde on Blonde” in its entirety each night.

As a Nashville group, performing “Blonde on Blonde” is particularly meaningful, according to Secor, and it lets the group “get to shine a light on this somewhat unknown part of Nashville history.”

“As a performer who's been playing now for going on 20 years, it's exciting to play a batch of material in which every song is a masterpiece,” Secor said.

The Ommegang show is about halfway through the tour, with nine more performances in the States and four shows abroad to finish up: in Manchester, Glasgow, London and Amsterdam.

Playing in Upstate New York is like coming home for OCMS, Secor said, as the band formed in Ithaca.

“This part of New York state has this special connection to the band,” he said. “The music fans in (that) region are smart and savvy, and it's a region that has been inspiring to us.”

Ommegang, in particularly, holds good memories for the group, according to Secor.

“I like the outdoor spirit, the vibe,” he said. “It's a beautiful place. … I think of Ommegang as setting a kind of new standard in outdoor performance venues.”

There's a familiarity when you know the venue, the stage and the dressing room, Secor said.

“You've seen it full of people before,” he said. “The nice thing about Ommegang is you can throw a Frisbee all day long, or a baseball, and then you just wait for the crowd to show up and you turn into the entertainer.”

When this tour is over, Secor said the band will “take a little time off and go back and do it again.”

“We're like fishermen,” he said. “We follow the stock.”

As for whether the band will play their classic single, “Wagon Wheel,” on Sunday, Secor remained tight-lipped.

“I think it'd be more exciting,” he said, “if I didn't tell you.”