Ketch & Critter – Live in Staunton
Ketch Secor and Critter Fuqua (below) are two of the founding members of old-time string band Old Crow Medicine Show. Both of these guys are actually from sunny Harrisonburg, VA. To celebrate 20 years of making music together, the two of them got together to play a few very small, very sold out shows in western VA. We somehow managed tickets to this dining room show at Mockingbird on January 14.
At risk of sounding cliche, Staunton is a quaint town. It’s settled right where I-64 meets I-81 and westbound 64 drivers are forced to follow the Appalachian Mountains north toward Maryland or south toward fried foods. We came into town a little early and took advantage of some of the town highlights (we’ll post about later).
We rolled into Mockingbird a little early. I had brought a few things with hopes to get them signed by the guys (Wagon Wheel 7″, a broken fiddle, etc.). Realizing I looked a bit like a deranged fan, I wrapped my junk in my hoodie and stowed it beneath our table. We proceeded to drink.
The Mockingbird is a unique venue; they have a private dining room theater that opened up 2 hours before the show. Dinner reservations got us a table within smelling distance from the stage that stood only a few inches above the floor. Not long after six, the dining room was at capacity with about 100 people. We ate like kings and the staff continued to hydrate the crowd the rest of the show (Starr Hill’s Winterbock “Gift” was worth the trip alone).
Around 8, Ketch and Critter took the stage. It was surreal. They started plucking away in a room comparable to a Starbucks in size. The place went bananas, well, about as bananas as sit down dinner theater can go; people were clapping and stomping along.
The show was almost as much comedy as it was music. The guys regaled the crowd with regional banter (mostly about Buena Vista girls and how Harrisonburg smells like chicken feed) and embarrassing stories about each other. They encouraged the crowd to join along in the music by smacking their tables or clicking their silverware on their beer glasses. It got rowdy.
Many of the songs they performed were not staple Old Crow Medicine Show songs; some they have recently written, others were old-time gospel and traditional songs. There was an arsenal of instruments behind them, which they essentially just passed back and forth between the two of them.
One of their encores, “Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio,” completely sung and perfectly harmonized in Spanish, featured Ketch on the bajo quinto(a 10 string Mexican guitar) and Critter on the Tejano Accordeon.
They even pulled out their old friends from the crowd for a few-song reunion of their first band, “The Route 11 Boys.” The crowd went nuts for the marathon version of “Wagon Wheel.” People shot up from their tables and danced anywhere they could. The guys received a heartily earned standing ovation.
We hung around after the show and got to meet both Ketch and Critter. Both were friendly, down-to-earth, appreciative dudes. I even got my fiddle signed…
Me: “Hey Ketch, if you wouldn’t mind, I’ve got a broken fiddle I’d like you to sign.”
Ketch: “Sure I’ll sign your broken-ass fiddle!”
Old Crow Medicine Show has since announced Critter is back in the band and that they have recorded a new album that is set to be released in 2012.