Friday, February 8, 2019

A Window Above: Wagon Wheel

Song: "Wagon Wheel"
Writers: Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor
Original Release: February 24, 2004
Band: Old Crow Medicine Show
Album: O.C.M.S.

"Wagon Wheel" has an amazing story.  Bob Dylan wrote the melody and the chorus - but no verses, at least not coherent ones - back in 1973.  He never finished the song and therefore never released it but it made it on to a bootleg recording:

The tape came into the hands of a young Ketch Secor some 20 years later when he was a teenager at Philip Exeter Academy.  He wrote the verses and when he and his friends formed the band Old Crow Medicine Show in 1998, the song became part of their standard set.

The song became bigger than the band.  It never got significant radio air play but took on a life of its own, making its way around country/bluegrass/folk circles by word of mouth and was eventually certified platinum.  Seemingly everyone learned to play it, enough that it became a popular song request at all concerts, not just Old Crow Medicine Show's - effectively the acoustic world's "Free Bird."  In fact, it became so cliche that many venues have banned the song.  In 2013, Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish fame released a cover that went triple platinum. 

Want to hear all of the songs I have featured in a convenient playlist?

Enjoy: A Window Above

What are you listening to these days?


  1. Wow, this is how songs get to be big. Thanks for this interesting post!

  2. Not only did I not know the history of that song, I don't think I've ever heard it, though I am familiar with the title.
    I think I need to listen to it some more.

  3. nice song. thank you for sharing the video.
    have a great day