Wagon Wheel: Anatomy Of A Hit

Credit our guests Town Mountain with the idea. After our interview for their episode, the conversation drifted over to talk about all the times that they had an audience member shout out a “Wagon Wheel” request. Their method of dealing with it is to simply tell the person wanting to hear it that they will play it provided that person gets on stage to sing it. This takes care of hearing any more requests for it most of the time. Immediately it occurred to me that this Old Crow Medicine Show hit would be an excellent topic for a show. It is a white whale of a song. Everyone has a take on it, everyone has a memory associated with it — probably multiple takes and multiple memories.

The original version of “Wagon Wheel” released in 2004 was certified gold in 2011 and platinum in 2013, with a triple platinum and #1 charting cover version turned in by Darius Rucker soon after.

The original version of “Wagon Wheel” released in 2004 was certified gold in 2011 and platinum in 2013, with a triple platinum and #1 charting cover version turned in by Darius Rucker soon after.

Writer and editor Garret Woodward, singer songwriters Dave Brewer, Reed Foehl, and music professional Zac Altheimer are among our guests on this episode, which traces the origins of the song that is in many ways bigger than the artists who made it. From music by the likes of Big Bill Broonzy and Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup that foretold it, to the almost forgotten sketch that Bob Dylan first gave it, to the ambitious original by a couple of homesick Southerners away at school in New Hampshire, and eventually its incredible run and high profile covers, you will hear the story of just how exceptional this piece of music is.

Thanks for visiting, and we encourage you to spread the word about this independent project and consider helping by subscribing, rating and commenting on the show where you get your podcasts, and by becoming a patron. You can find out more about Old Crow Medicine Show on their website here. Also, you can check out Dave Brewer’s band Possum Jenkins music on this website, and Reed Foehl on his site. This is Southern Songs and Stories: the music of the South and the artists who make it. - Joe Kendrick 

The Music And Culture Episode, Part Two

We wrap up our two part series on Southern music and culture with a focus on notable artists from the last half century, including icons like Doc Watson and more recent bands like Southern Culture On The Skids. Our guests from episode one are all here: Laura Boosinger, Daniel Coston, Ty Gilpin, Kim Ruehl, Stu Vincent and Garret Woodward, with conversations about Southern hospitality, how it can be sheik to be from the South nowadays, as well as the darker side of culture and history in the region. We also welcome writer and editor Fred Mills as well as Kruger Brothers banjo player Jens Kruger to this podcast, which features music from the likes of Pete Fountain, Doc Watson, Tom Petty, Laura Boosinger, R.L. Burnside, and many more.

Doc Watson, photographed in December 2010 by one of our guests on the show, Daniel Coston.

Doc Watson, photographed in December 2010 by one of our guests on the show, Daniel Coston.

Thanks to our supporters on Patreon, to Dynamite Roasting, and to Bluegrass Planet Radio for carrying our series. Please spread awareness about this independent endeavor and consider helping us by subscribing and commenting on our show, and by becoming a supporter. It's easy to do, either with a one-time donation via the blue "Tip Jar" button on our site's front page, or by chipping in monthly on our Patreon page, which offers a lot of great bonus material. Thanks for listening, and we hope you enjoy the show!

The Music and Culture Episode, part one

It's a question which is at the heart of everything we do on Southern Songs and Stories, and we always pose it to artists and bands: How does your music speak to the South, and how does the South reflect itself in your music? It can go as broadly as a 'who are we and how did we get here?' exercise in philosophy and history, on down to the more anecdotal and local 'what foods do you miss the most when you're touring far away?' variety of queries.

A map of the   Southern Section of the United States including Florida   from 1816. They didn't want to count Florida all that much it seems.

A map of the Southern Section of the United States including Florida from 1816. They didn't want to count Florida all that much it seems.

With our latest podcast, we break from the deep dives into artists and bands that we have been doing for the last several episodes to pose this question to some of our favorite music professionals: Laura Boosinger, Daniel Coston, Ty Gilpin, Kim Ruehl, Stu Vincent and Garret Woodward. Their answers are thought provoking, and reveal a good bit of the unique nature of Southern music and culture, highlighting how it evolved and continues to change and expand into the larger world. 

This is part one of a two part episode, where we focus on origins and feature more of the roots end of the Southern music spectrum. Part two will continue forward in time and touch on the grittier side of the Southland as well as how music acts as a unifying element, and look at where these intersections of culture and music have been in the more recent era as well as where they may be in the near future.

Thanks to our sponsors, Dynamite Roasting, and our supporters on Patreon. Please spread awareness about this podcast and consider helping us by subscribing and commenting on our show, and by becoming a supporter, either with a one-time donation via the blue "Tip Jar" button on our site's front page, or by chipping in monthly on our Patreon page. Thanks for listening and we hope you enjoy the show!