(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Old Crow Medicine Show, whose hard-hitting approach to old-time country, folk, string-band and bluegrass anticipated the neo-folk revival of bands including Mumford & Sons, Lumineers and Avett Brothers, performs at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at 8pm. The show by the Nashville-based outfit serves both to kick-start MASS MoCA’s summer performance season as well as previewing the museum’s huge festival of roots music, Freshgrass, which takes place next September.
Old Crow Medicine Show (Ketch Secor, Critter Fuqua, Kevin Hayes, Morgan Jahnig, Gill Landry, and Chance McCoy), formed in 1998 in Harrisonburg, Va., shot to stardom as energetic performers with an unbridled spirit that leaps off their strings whenever they pick up an instrument.
Discovered by legendary bluegrass picker Doc Watson while they were busking on a street corner in Boone, N.C., Old Crow Medicine Show’s ascendancy happened on the heels of its first major appearance at Watson’s annual Merlefest music festival. So well-received there, the band followed that appearance with a residency at the Grand Ole Opry, which further launched a career whose success now spans across two decades, over 800,000 album sales, and a Grammy award.
To step into an Old Crow concert is akin to stepping into a village of covered wagons and one-room schoolhouses, when entertainers traveled from village to village shilling tonics for every ailment — Old Crow’s namesake “medicine shows”. The band yearns to bring that wagon-wheel feel back to contemporary music. “I feel like when we play, people can feel the timelessness. They can feel that they’re rooted in something,” says bandleader Ketch Secor. “We’re able to play for a collective feeling that’s lost, that used to be a big part of everything.”
FreshGrass producer Chris Wadsworth of Manitou Media explains, “Old Crow Medicine Show is exactly the music that FreshGrass celebrates.” Wadsworth continues, “These guys honor traditional bluegrass while pushing the genre forward with their decidedly authentic old-school picking style. We couldn’t miss an opportunity to bring them to MASS MoCA, as a reminder of what’s to come on September 20th when we launch the full festival.”
Tickets for Old Crow Medicine Show’s performance at MASS MoCA are $35 in advance and $40 on the day of the show. Museum members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 x1 during Box Office hours, or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org. MASS MoCA’s galleries will be open from 3pm to 7:30pm before the show.
FreshGrass is a wonderland of traditional and cutting-edge bluegrass, tucked appropriately into MASS MoCA, a 19th-century factory-turned-21st-century-museum in the Berkshire mountains of northwestern Massachusetts. It is an opportunity for enthusiasts to both appreciate and participate. FreshGrass features guitar gods and banjo gurus, traditionalists and trailblazers – well-known, much-loved artists, along with new FreshGrass discoveries. Music workshops are offered in conjunction with the Berklee College of Music American Roots Program. A contest to discover the next big stars in bluegrass music, as well as children’s performances and local food, flesh out the weekend-long festival. FreshGrass is presented by Manitou Media.
FreshGrass continues to be one of the best values in the festival world. Early-bird festival passes are available for $68 for adults, $58 for students. After the early-bird tickets are sold, normal pricing will be $78 for adults, $68 for students, $38 for kids 6-16, and free for children 5 and under. Museum members receive a 10% discount on the regular prices, but membership discounts do not apply to the early-bird prices. Day passes will be available closer to the event. Tickets are available through the festival website (freshgrass.com) and the museum website (massmoca.org) or by calling the MASS MoCA Box office at 413 662 2111 ext.1. The Box Office is located off Marshall Street in North Adams, and is open from 11am to 5pm, closed Tuesdays. Festival-goers are welcome to bring chairs, blankets, and cushions to sit on but should leave coolers and picnic baskets at home. The festival will be held rain or shine.
MASS MoCA is one of the world’s premier centers for making and showing the best art of our time. More than 80 major new works of art and more than 50 performances have been created through fabrication and rehearsal residencies in North Adams, making MASS MoCA perhaps the most fertile site in the country for new art. The museum thrives on making and presenting work that is fresh, surprising, and challenging. MASS MoCA’s galleries are open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays. In July and August, MASS MoCA’s galleries are open 10am to 6pm every day. Gallery admission is $15 for adults, $10 for students, $5 for children 6-16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round. For additional information, call 413-662-2111 or visit MASS MoCA.
MASS MoCA is an independent 501(c)(3) whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for an initial construction grant from the Commonwealth, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of annual operating revenues are from earned revenues, membership support, and private gifts and grants.