A Word About That 'Old Crow Medicine Show' Song...
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Alice In Nederland   —   9 years ago

You know which song I’m talking about. I heard you started it years ago and recently gave it to OCMS to finish. Whether that is true or not, you’ve probably heard the song by now. It’s a hard song to avoid, and I have a little story about why I try to avoid it even though I really like it. Wagon Wheel is the name I think, if not it should be.

To begin with, I heard it first not all that long ago on Pandora, on the Bob Dylan station I have set, as a matter of fact. I immediately loved it. I would hear it come on and run to turn up the volume on my stereo. Then I noticed that it was running through my mind at night, even while I was sleeping. Now, it isn’t the only song that does it, but it’s the stickiest one that ever has! I don’t know if songs stay with me throughout my sleeping hours because of some sort of synesthesia or just from plain old mental boredom. I read about synesthesia in "Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain" by Oliver Sacks. Oliver Sacks said the trick is to actually listen to the whole song in its entirety or play it in your head in full. That hasn’t worked for me. That leaves me to wonder if it is indeed a form of synesthesia or something else. Maybe I bonked my noggin one too many times! But, for whatever reason, for about four years now every night I hear a song every time I awaken throughout the night and first thing in the morning. Same song. Over and over. So, as you can imagine, it is difficult to sleep when the song that is stuck on repeat inside my skull is an upbeat one. It affects my quality of sleep and if it’s an energetic tune I am restless all night and awaken exhausted. Ie: grumpy.

So, I was still running to the stereo every time it came on, but now it was to thumbs down the song on every station that it plays on, or be resigned to never sleeping well again. To fully understand how demented this was making me, allow me to elaborate. In a frenzied mad dash to grab the remote I would start doing that thing you do when you are a kid and you don’t want to hear what someone is saying. That. It wasn’t pretty. Well! A lady needs her beauty sleep! Turning tail on the tune was something I didn’t relish doing. My husband was torn between loving the song and having to live with me whether I get any sleep or not. I think of it as something done by necessity rather than choice, because I was at the mercy of my subversive subconscious! I never listen to it anymore, except for when a Pandora station comes on that hasn’t been played recently. Happened this morning for the first time in awhile and sparked this li’l diatribe.

After the song had been banished from Pandora I was soon made acutely aware that it was still alive and well and playing on repeat inside my head.

A few weeks following all of that I asked my fiddle teacher (who is a bonafide musician who took me on as a student out of the kind and cool nature of his heart) if he had heard the song. His immediate response was, “Oh yeah, it’s the new ‘Free Bird.” Well WOW! That’s saying something alright. The new Freebird! (I won’t even get started on FreeBird.)

That night the song of which I spoke played and played and played inside my head once again! I hadn’t heard it in weeks and I don’t even know the words, but there it was, and still on repeat! See what I mean by sticky? Just the mention of it had it firmly embedded in my addled brain once more. That is quite a feat, and I imagine you and OCMS should both be proud to have created such a sticky song.

So, I mentioned to my fiddle teacher what had happened and how wildly clingy that song is. He said that he had just been introduced to a guy, a guitarist maybe, who had just come from hanging out with and playing with OCMS. This guy and my teacher met down in Key West and my teacher was enjoying their mutual musicianship and friends. That’s how he learned that you had started the song, and in turn how I learned. It has piqued my curiosity to discover which parts of the “Stickiest Song Ever Writ” you are responsible for and which ones I can blame on OCMS! Just kidding.

Tonight ought to be interesting, if forced to bet I’d put every penny on hearing it all night long. And I almost look forward to it. It’s bittersweet, this silly saga about a song…because it’s a great song. Sigh…

Had To Do It For My Own Good,

P.S. I have started listening to KD Lang singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" before bed and now I sleep like a baby.

(UPDATE: My violin teacher was at my house for a lesson and mentioned that he is going with Steve Lapierre to hang out with OCMS backstage in Orlando this week. So I looked up their other videos on YouTube so we could watch them. So glad I explored their catalog of songs, even made myself an OCMS Pandora station, but still had to thumbs down that Wagon Wheel song. The video for Bushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer is a hoot and I adore the tune. Anyway, in an interview with OCMS they said Wagon Wheel is an old Bob Dylan tune! Wow, how timely for me to learn that. So, I stand corrected. The song OCMS and you, Bob, collaborated on is Sweet Amarillo. LOVE IT!)

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