Among the award-winning group Old Crow Medicine Show’s first performances in Nashville were on the sidewalks outside the Opry House in Summer 2000, playing for fans entering and exiting Opry performances. The band graduated to the Opry stage for its official debut January 13, 2001, quickly became a fan favorite during dozens of performances that followed, and was finally invited by Marty Stuart to join the Grand Ole Opry on August 16, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.
When the band officially became part of the Opry family a month later, it wasn’t lost on the band or on the institution itself that both entities were quite poetically coming full circle. Old Crow had officially graduated from the Opry Plaza it had played week after week all those years earlier to center stage. The Opry, meanwhile, was adding to its ranks nearly nine decades into its life a band with a sound much like groups such as Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys from the show’s very early days.
Old Crow Medicine Show got its start busking on street corners in New York state and through Canada, winning audiences along the way with its boundless energy and spirit. The band members eventually found themselves in Boone, North Carolina where they caught the attention of legendary folk icon Doc Watson, who invited them to play at his MerleFest, helping to launch the band’s career. Shortly afterward, the band relocated to Nashville and began its fateful residency on the Opry Plaza.
More than a decade later, the band has toured the world, sold hundreds of thousand of albums and performed at renowned festivals including Bonnaroo, Coachella and The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Earlier in its Opry induction year, the band along with Mumford & Sons and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros won the Grammy Award for “Best Long Form Music Video” for the film Big Easy Express, which was shot as they toured from California to New Orleans on a vintage train, playing shows along the way. That spring, the band’s classic single “Wagon Wheel” received the RIAA’s Platinum certification for selling over 1,000,000 copies. The song also became a major country hit for fellow Opry member Darius Rucker and was nominated for both Song and Single of the Year at the CMA awards.
Speaking on behalf of the group on its induction evening, Ketch Secor related that years ago members of the band asked themselves if they’d ever make it big in TV. Secor recalled having said, “I don’t know about TV, but we might make something of ourselves on radio.” Fast forwarding to the present, Secor concluded, “We’re standing out here on the most beloved broadcast anywhere on earth. I think we made it big on radio! … We the Old Crows are just so proud to be entrusted to carry on the traditions of the Grand Ole Opry’s good-natured riot.”