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World Cafe Nashville: Ketch Secor Of Old Crow Medicine Show

Ketch Secor (second from the left) with Old Crow Medicine Show band mates.
Danny Clinch
Courtesy of the artist
Ketch Secor (second from the left) with Old Crow Medicine Show band mates.

Art needs to be preserved, but music thrives when it is replanted. Traditional styles grow differently depending on who cultivates them and where. For two decades, Old Crow Medicine Show has helped make old-timey American music vital for a generation raised on Nirvana and hip-hop by abandoning the rules that sometimes stifle folk revivalism and growing in whatever way appealed to it.

From covering an entire Bob Dylan album to writing one of country music's 21st century classics, "Wagon Wheel," Old Crow has consistently surprised and challenged its audience in the most joyful ways possible. Ketch Secor, a founding member and now the main voice in Old Crow, is a Renaissance man who not only continues to make great music with the band — its sixth studio album, Volunteer, claimed high spots on the country, bluegrass and Americana album charts upon its release last spring — but has branched out into children's education.

A co-founder of Nashville's first Episcopal Day School, which opened in 2016, Secor recently published his first children's book, Lorraine, a collaboration with the noted illustrator Higgins Bond.

Secor stopped by Sound Stage Studios in Nashville, Tenn. the morning after a long day of multiple performances. A planter never sleeps, it seems. Hear the session in the player.

Copyright 2018 XPN

Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. She writes for NPR's music news blog, The Record, and she can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines and music programs.