Country group Old Crow Medicine Show on songwriting, new album


Some call Old Crow Medicine Show the greatest string band in the world.

While Nashville has been under fire for too many songs about girls and trucks, and girls riding shotgun in trucks, many see this band as a cure, reports CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford.

They are unlikely ambassadors for old-time country music, with energy like punk rock, but a sound that's country to the core.

Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua started playing together when they were 12 years old. Growing up in Virginia, they were comfortably middle class.

"We're from the South, but we're from a college town and you know, our parents were both educators," Secor said.

"It's not, you know, we didn't grow up in a holler," Fuqua added.

Secor said they had to "get country" quickly to figure out how to play the genre's music with authority. They moved into a cabin with no running water in the mountains of North Carolina, playing for anyone who would listen.

One song, which Secor wrote in high school, stood out.

"After we had played it in, I think in Hickory, North Carolina, to a crowd of about 28, we all were in the parking lot and this dude came up to us that we knew," Secor said. "He was a Vietnam vet and he kind of hung around a lot and he was missin' a front tooth. And he said, 'You just need to play that "Wagon Wheel" every night."'

It would become the band's signature song, inspired by a bootleg CD of unfinished songs from 1973. The song's original voice was none other than Bob Dylan.

"You could picture them all around a piano, no one knows the song," Secor said. "Bob has just written this chorus. And he just begins to sing, 'Rock me mama like a wagon wheel. Rock me mama any way you feel. Hey mama rock me."'

Secor, just 17 years old, took that snippet of sound and wrote a song, sharing writing credit with Dylan.

In 2013, Darrius Rucker covered "Wagon Wheel" and took it to number one. That same year, Old Crow was asked to join country music's most exclusive club: the Grand Ole Opry.

"Country music, like so many things, has changed a great-- to a great deal and it seems to have forgotten where it came from," Secor said.

"People have forgotten that it's their story that they need to tell through country music. It doesn't have to be a dog on a porch, a jug of shine," Fuqua added. "Unless you live that for real. I mean, you can write about your life, relevant in this day and age and still it be country."

Old Crow stays connected to that past by remembering the legends -- not only Dylan, but also Roy Acuff, the man known as the king of country.

Acuff's grave in Nashville is a place where they pay their respects.

Their approach is resonating. Dylan turned them on to another song: "Sweet Amarillo." Again, Secor finished it and their newest album, appropriately titled "Remedy," is up for a Grammy.

"It just becomes so wonderfully bizarre and dreamy, like, 'Wake me up Critter. I'm having this amazing dream,"' Secor said.

"It seems like something that I would say, like, 'Ketch, I had this weird dream the other night. You finished a Dylan song and the guy from Hootie and the Blowfish finished it and made it number one and we were living in Nashville,"' Fuqua added.

Secor said it's as if all of their wishes have been granted, and all of their dreams, realized.

"It's hard to think there could be anymore," Secor said.