New Heathens

New Heathens jam with Old Crow Medicine Show singer in Provincetown

The New Heathens jammed with Ketch Secor of the Old Crow Medicine Show on a couple of roof-raising songs at the Squealing Pig in Provincetown, Mass. on Saturday.

The musical pairing started when we performed the Old Crow Medicine Show song “Tell It To Me,” – which features the catchy refrain, “Cocaine you’re gonna’ kill my honey dear!” – without even knowing that the man we learned it from was sitting 10 feet in front of us.

I introduced the number as “a song we learned from a great band called Old Crow Medicine Show.” A young man sitting at the bar, dressed in a plaid shirt, jean jacket, charcoal-colored pants and boots, perked up. He sang along with every word. I thought he looked like one of the guys in Old Crow Medicine Show, but I put the thought away and chalked it up to the Ryan Adams/Hillary Duff/Marilyn Manson/Flock of Seagulls phenomenon (that fans of a certain artist or band often LOOK like said artist or band). Besides, OCMS are from Nashville, and they’re on tour – they just played New York’s Webster Hall two weeks ago – why the hell would one of them be at the Squealing Pig in Provincetown, Mass.?

After our set I walked up to the dude, thanked him for coming out, and mentioned that he really seemed to like the Old Crow Medicine Show song.

“That’s my song!” he said. “I’m the singer in Old Crow Medicine Show, that’s my band!”

Picture a bomb exploding. That was my brain. What are the chances of this happening?

“I thought you looked like the singer of Old Crow Medicine Show!” I said. “Will you come do that song with us if we play it again next set?”

“Sure! I love the electric version you guys do,” he said. “My name is Ketch, by the way. Do you guys know ‘Wagon Wheel?’”

I told him that I knew the words, but not the chords.

“It’s real easy,” Ketch said. “I’ll show it to you.”

Ketch picked up my guitar and showed us the chords, then I gave him a harmonica and we were off! We cruised through Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” with Ketch belting out the melody and blowing harp. I sang harmony and we kicked out a really cool version of the song. One take, no rehearsal.

Next we played “Tell It To Me,” this time with me on lead vocals and Ketch singing backup and blowing crazy harmonica. With each verse the playing got more intense. Ketch started shuffling his feet, then jumping up and down, then dancing like a banshee. The New Heathens were all dancing too, as were a whole bunch of folks in the bar. Others clapped while others pounded their fists on tables and stomped their feet.

Hot damn! What a blast!

Ketch says he’ll be in Provincetown for the winter. We’re looking forward to going back and hopefully jamming with him some more.

We’ve been extraordinarily lucky in the New Heathens to have jammed onstage with a grip of fantastic musicians including Keith Christopher from the Yayhoos, Boo Reiners from the Demolition String Band, Drew Glackin from Tandy, Charlene McPhereson from Spanking Charlene, Alan Lee from the Wicked Messengers, Peter Hutchison and John “Chico” Finn from Future Farmers of America, Zane Campbell, Jim Marchese from Mary Lamont’s band, John Truelove from Coppersonic and now Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show.

Hope to see you at an upcoming gig. Because you never know who might be there or what might happen…

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