About The Song

Absolutely! Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” is a foot-stompin’ folk and bluegrass anthem that’s become a modern classic. Here’s a breakdown of this catchy tune:

Origins and Release:

  • The song has a fascinating history. The verses were written by poet and activist Hilton Terrell in the 1800s, while the chorus was written much later by Old Crow Medicine Show frontman Ketch Secor in the early 2000s.
  • The band combined the two parts and released their version as a single in 2004 from their album “O.C.M.S.”

Genre: Folk, Bluegrass

Musical Style:

  • The song features a driving banjo riff backed by acoustic guitar, fiddle, and upright bass, creating a classic bluegrass sound.
  • The call-and-response vocals in the chorus encourage audience participation, making it a live favorite.
  • The upbeat tempo and simple chord progression make it easy to learn and sing along to.

Lyrics and Theme:

  • The verses tell a story of a traveling cowboy seeking work (“Ridin’ on a railroad / Feelin’ kinda beat / Down in New Orleans / Lookin’ for some grub to eat”).
  • The chorus uses metaphors of “a wagon wheel” and “turnin’ ’round” to represent the cycles of life and the constant journey forward (“It’s all just a wheel, wagon wheel / Turnin’ ’round and round”).
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Legacy and Impact:

  • “Wagon Wheel” became Old Crow Medicine Show’s breakout hit, propelling them to national recognition.
  • The song gained further popularity through cover versions by artists like Darius Rucker and a viral internet meme.
  • It continues to be a staple at folk festivals, bluegrass concerts, and campfires around the world.

Interesting Tidbits:

  • The origins of the song’s verses were a mystery for many years, adding to its folklore.
  • Old Crow Medicine Show often extends live performances of “Wagon Wheel” by adding new verses improvised on the spot, keeping the song fresh and engaging.
  • The song’s catchy chorus and sing-along nature have made it a popular choice for weddings and other celebrations.

Want to hear the song?

You can find “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show on most streaming platforms. There’s also the official music video available on YouTube: you can search for “Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel (Official Music Video)”.

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Here are some additional questions you might be interested in:

  • Would you like to explore other songs by Old Crow Medicine Show or other artists in the folk or bluegrass genres?
  • Are you interested in learning more about the history of folk music and its traditions of storytelling and audience participation?
  • What other songs have interesting stories behind their origins or multiple versions by different artists?

Video

Lyrics

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤
Headed down south to the land of the pinesAnd I’m thumbin’ my way into North CarolineStarin’ up the roadPray to God I see headlights
I made it down the coast in seventeen hoursPickin’ me a bouquet of dogwood flowersAnd I’m a hopin’ for RaleighI can see my baby tonight
So rock me mama like a wagon wheelRock me mama anyway you feelHey mama rock meRock me mama like the wind and the rainRock me mama like a southbound trainHey mama rock me
Runnin’ from the cold up in New EnglandI was born to be a fiddler in an old-time string bandMy baby plays the guitarI pick a banjo now
Oh, the North country winters keep a gettin’ me nowLost my money playin’ poker so I had to up and leaveBut I ain’t a turnin’ backTo livin’ that old life no more
So rock me mama like a wagon wheelRock me mama anyway you feelHey mama rock meRock me mama like the wind and the rainRock me mama like a south-bound trainHey mama rock me
Walkin’ due south out of RoanokeI caught a trucker out of PhillyHad a nice long tokeBut he’s a headed west from the Cumberland GapTo Johnson City, Tennessee
And I gotta get a move on before the sunI hear my baby callin’ my nameAnd I know that she’s the only oneAnd if I die in RaleighAt least I will die free
So rock me mama like a wagon wheelRock me mama anyway you feelHey mama rock meRock me mama like the wind and the rainRock me mama like a south-bound trainHey mama rock me

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