It's another interesting chapter in the history of a song that's slowly working its way toward American classic status. Like "House of the Rising Sun" or "Good Night, Irene," it's now a pop song with a long back story that tantalizingly trickles out before you reach the wellspring.
in mainstream country music are paying attention.
The story gets better. Over the next 13 months the song would go platinum as the band gained more popularity, thanks to years of hard work on the road, championed by Mumford Sons and Rucker's decision to cover "Wagon Wheel," and has now up to 1.2 million copies sold and counting. Combining sales for Rucker and Old Crow's version, that's nearly 2.5 million copies sold.
Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show first encountered the song when his friend and future bandmate Chris "Critter" Fuqua brought home a Bob Dylan bootleg from a trip to London that contained an outtake from the singer's "Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid" soundtrack sessions called "Rock Me, Mama." It wasn't so much a song as a sketch, crudely recorded featuring most prominently a stomping boot, the candy coated chorus and a mumbled verse that was hard to make out. He cited Arthur Crudup's "Rock Me, Mama," but Crudup said he got the song from Big Bill Broonzy, who recorded it as "Rock Me Baby." Broonzy didn't claim ownership either and the trail dissolves there, lost to history.
"Country music has made it damn near impossible to get a song like 'Wagon Wheel' into the arena," he said. "We're sitting out there on a side stage out in the parking lot somewhere. But this song managed to seep in somehow. As someone who's interested in seeing country music come around and look at its parentage and be a little more respectful to it, I'm really pleased that this song is helping to do that kind of work in Music City."
"I'm sitting there listening to it and I say to myself what I always say to myself, 'I want to cut this song,'" Rucker said. "I say it all the time but I never end up cutting anything. But with this song it was, 'All right, let's try it.' I didn't know how big it was until after I cut it, until after it was a single. I didn't know that every college student south of the Mason Dixon Line in the last eight years knows this song. I had no idea. I thought it was just another Old Crow song until I recorded it and realized it wasn't just another Old Crow song."
As the song itself inspires fans to raise their voices together, it's inspired Rucker and Secor to collaborate. OCMS recently joined Rucker on the Grand Ole Opry, where they got a standing ovation. And Rucker says when it's time to start working on country album No. 4, Secor's the first guy he's calling.
career. The cut from his third Nashville recorded album, "True Believers," out this week, has sold nearly 1.2 million copies and sat atop the country charts for three consecutive weeks earlier this year.
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"I find that the number of singers in the chorus makes it all the more exciting," Secor said. "That's what folk music is and this is a folk song. I think the thing that's interesting about 'Wagon Wheel' is that a folk song could be really popular in 2013. Every strike is against it. All the odds are against folk music, particularly one song rising up and having an impact."
The proof of a song's universality is its ability to jump between genres. Already presented in blues and folk versions, Rucker changed it yet again to fit his silky baritone and traditional country and classic rock influences. He invited in the trio Lady Antebellum to provide backing harmony, again changing the song in unexpected ways.
So far, Rucker's version of "Wagon Wheel" is the most successful song of his country Nike Air Max 90 Brown Suede
months after first hearing "Rock Me, Mama," Secor was away from his native Virginia attending school in New Hampshire and feeling homesick for the South. He sat down and wrote a song about hitchhiking his way home full of romantic notions put in his head by the Beat poets and, most of all, Dylan.
Secor thinks that kind of cross pollination is an important legacy of the song as well and hopes the powers that be Nike Air Max 90 Womens
While the recorded version is rousing, nothing beats the sound of thousands of voices raised during a live concert. The chorus Air Max 90 Vt Royal Blue works its way into memory immediately, making it easy for even the newest of fans to join in.
In this April 28, 2013 file photo, singer Darius Rucker poses for a portrait backstage on day 3 of the 2013 Stagecoach Music Festival at the Empire Polo Club, in Indio, Calif. Rucker's version of "Wagon Wheel" is the most successful song of his country career. The cut from his third Nashville recorded album, "True Believers," out on May 21, 2013, has sold nearly 1.2 million copies and sat atop the country charts for three consecutive weeks early this year. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP, File)
"I listened to Bob Dylan and nothing else," Secor said. "Nothin' but Bob for four years. It was like schooling. Every album and every outtake of every album and every live record I could get my hands on and every show I could go see live. In the little engine that could style it attained gold status in November 2011, seven years after it became available digitally.
Darius Rucker rides Wagon Wheel to top of charts
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Darius Rucker is a fan of Old Crow Medicine Show, but says he didn't really get what was so infectious about the string band's signature hit "Wagon Wheel" at first.
"It's like having four aces in your pocket, that song," Secor said.
"It's such the perfect country song," Rucker said. "When we were cutting it, all we had (to model it on) was this perfect bluegrass song. I couldn't do it as a bluegrass song. It's just not me. So if we were going to do it, we had to make it a 1950s country song. I'm not shocked at how successful it's been, but I didn't expect it."
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