Old Crow Medicine Show, "Remedy" (ATO)
"We're talking happiness here," banjo wiz Critter Fuqua says as an aside a few minutes into "Remedy," which neatly sums up the latest album from Old Crow Medicine Show. Lickety-split tempos and kitchen-sink arrangements make for a set that's foot-stomping, thigh-slapping and grin-inducing.
The string band's wide range of influences ensures plenty of variety. "Brave Boys" recalls the Pogues, "Doc's Day" is hillbilly blues, and a composing collaboration with Bob Dylan results in "Sweet Amarillo," which would fit on "The Basement Tapes."
All are terrific, as are songs about a fallen vet, hating on haters and a certain creek one goes up without a paddle. The hilarious "Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer" is a celebration of liberation, while "The Warden" offers a darker perspective on prison in lovely five-part harmony.
Five-part is nothing -- all seven band members sing on a couple of tunes, and the result is a glorious chorus. In fact, from start to finish "Remedy" creates a mighty roar.