Critter From Old Crow Medicine Show Talks Bob Dylan, Busking And Boone, NC

Critter From Old Crow Medicine Show Talks Bob Dylan, Busking And Boone, NC

Photo Courtesy: Danny Clinch/All Eyes Media

Earlier today, I got to chat with Critter Fuqua from Old Crow Medicine Show. As everyone else in the free world, I am familiar with, and a fan of, “Wagon Wheel” from the Grammy winning group, but I have just started learning about their other music. Um, it rocks, people – especially the songs, “Shit Creek” {my personal fave}, “Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer” and “Sweet Amarillo,” all off their album, “Remedy.” It’s interesting to learn that these Grand Ole Opry members made their way around North America in the early days on money they earned while busking. Not sure what that is? Read on to find out.

A Chat With Critter From Old Crow Medicine Show

In case you are wondering how to pronounce Fuqua, it’s FYOO-kway. I totally pronounced it wrong and, as a fellow person who has a hard to pronounce for some name, I wanted to help you all out. 😀 Old Crow Medicine Show is currently on tour and you can see them locally at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax on August 27th. Check out their complete tour schedule and buy tickets here.

EPR: A reader wanted to know when you will have a new album of original material out.

Critter From Old Crow Medicine Show Talks Bob Dylan, Busking And Boone, NC

Critter: Well, we have a new album out now – we covered Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” last year and we have a new album of originals recorded by Dave Cobb here in Nashville that will probably be out next spring.

EPR: And another reader asked, where did you get the name Critter?

Critter: My real name is Christopher and when I was learning to talk when I was a little, little, little kid, I would say Critter-fer instead of Christopher and so my dad called me Critter. It’s pretty adorable and a term of endearment story.

EPR: That is too cute. Awwww… what inspired you to do the Bob Dylan album? Could you share with us a little more about that?

Critter: Bob Dylan’s always been a great influence on us. So when the Country Music Hall Of Fame asked us if we wanted to play Blonde on Blonde live last year for 2 nights, we jumped at the chance. It was the 50th anniversary of it being recorded here in Nashville. We liked it so much that we put it out as an album and a DVD and we have been touring that for a little bit. It’s been a lot of fun.

EPR: Do you have any other historic albums that you are planning on redoing in the future?

Critter: I have no idea. It could be. I don’t know that we really thought about that yet. You know, who knows?

EPR: Right. You never know what the future holds. So, you play Slide Guitar as well as regular Guitar. For those of us who are not musically inclined [*waves hand emphatically*] who might not understand what the difference is, could you explain that a little bit?

Critter: There is really not a lot of difference between the instruments. Slide is just a style you can actually play with a glass or metal slide or one of your fingers, usually a ring finger or a pinky. Sometimes it’s played on a dobro, which is an instrument with a resonator in the middle to resonate the sound out. It’s really a style with the slide – hitting those bluesy kind of notes.

Critter From Old Crow Medicine Show Talks Bob Dylan, Busking And Boone, NC

Photo Courtesy: Danny Clinch/All Eyes Media

EPR: So, you guys were discovered in Boone {NC}. Is that correct?

Critter: Yeah, I think you could say that, definitely. We met Doc Watson on the street corner and he liked us so much that he invited us to play Merlefest. I think that was the real turning point of the band. Then Sally Williams, who is now vice president of the Opry, invited us to Nashville to play the Opry Plaza Parties and then we moved to Nashville and the rest is history. We got discovered in front of Boone Drug in Boone, NC.

EPR: That’s really cool because I went to college in Boone.

Critter: Ah, Appalachian State?

EPR: Yeah. So, what were you guys doing in Boone? Did you just kind of end up there?

Critter: Yes, we kind of ended up there. We sort of picked a spot on the map.

EPR: Boone’s a pretty place to pick and, considering how things ended up, you did a good job.

Critter: It is. It’s wonderful.

[Editor’s Note: Critter was on hiatus from the band when they did the Railroad Revival Tour a few years ago.]

EPR: What did you do while the band was on the Railroad Revival Tour? What did you do with your free time? Or was it even free time?

Critter: I was in Texas for a while. I wasn’t playing with the band for 4-5 years. I was going to school then and I majored in English. I’m fluent now. 😉

EPR: That’s nice! I think it’s really important to go to college. It’s an enriching experience whether you earn a degree or not. Can you explain “busking” to those of us who might not be aware of what that is?

Critter From Old Crow Medicine Show Talks Bob Dylan, Busking And Boone, NC

Photo Courtesy: Danny Clinch/All Eyes Media

Critter: Busking is basically playing for the hats, playing on the street. It’s a huge tradition. Musicians have been doing it for probably thousands of years on the street corner.

EPR: Did you find that you got a good audience response from that?

Critter: Yeah, we got a really great response everywhere we went. We busked all over North America. I mean, from Ottawa to New Orleans, busking is how we learned to be a band. It’s how we got our style.

EPR: And I am sure that you had to learn to deal with all different types of crowds all around the country. Right? Who seemed to be like the most welcoming types of people?

Critter: It just seemed like we were welcomed everywhere. New Orleans was big and Nashville was huge. I think everywhere we went, we seemed to be popular. When we started busking, we weren’t that good, technically, but we had the energy, the passion and the songs.

EPR: Where have been some of your favorite places that you guys have been able to play?

Critter: Oh, there’s so many of them. We just did another tour of England and we played in Amsterdam. Red Rock, Colorado. I love playing in the Northwest and I love playing in Canada and the Maritime Provinces. There are just so many places that have been so wonderful.

EPR: Is there anywhere that you would like to play that you haven’t already gotten to?

Critter: Japan! Definitely.

Old Crow Medicine Show is currently on tour and you can see them locally at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax on August 27th. Check out their complete tour schedule and buy tickets here.

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About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn has been a music lover her entire life. She went to college in Boone, NC, an area that is rich in music and culture. She also worked as a radio deejay for 8 years and grew up in Southeastern, Va, a melting pot of different musical styles and traditions. She has been to more concerts than she can count in every genre you can imagine. She resides in North Carolina with her furbabies and her massive collection of Disney memorabilia.


  1. Old Crow Medicine Show is one of my all-time favorite bands. I love their mix of bluegrass, rock, and folk. It’s a combination that works so well. I listen to them all the time. One of the best songs they ever did was “Don’t Ride That Horse”.

  2. I’m not familiar with them. But, I love the video you included!
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  3. We are big Old Crow Medicine Show fans here. This is a great interview!

  4. I have never heard of them before, but I am off to youtube to check them out now!!

  5. I found Old Crow Medicine Crow accidentally when I was searching for “Wagon Wheel” after I heard the remake. They are an awesome band.
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  6. It’s cool that they’ve been able to meet so many fans around from all over North America. It would be fun to see one of their shows.
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  7. It’s funny how childhood nick-names stick with you so long. I hope my son isn’t called Bug one day. 😉

  8. I love Old Crow Medicine Show. I also love that his nickname is Critter. That’s my granddaughter’s nickname too. Funny how these things stick.

  9. This looks great, love the songs they sound meaningful.
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  10. I just adore the Old Crowe Medicine Show! This was a super fin read for me. I am such a nerd!
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  11. I had never heard of Old Crow Medicine Show until I heard my husband playing them one day. He’s a big fan, and I admit, I do like their music too.
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  12. Annemarie LeBlanc says

    Honestly, this is the first time I heard about this band. The interview gave me an interest to listen to their music. I will search youtube and check out their songs. Thanks for letting me know about them.

  13. I never heard of this before, glad you were able to share some of the chatter from the old crow medicine show, sounds like others knew this band. I am glad you are bringing back information in the form of an interview.
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  14. I had not heard of them until your post, but I’m a new fan. Love the mix of sounds, a bit of country, a bit of bluegrass all mingled together.

  15. I’m not really much into country music but I definitely know Bob Dylan and he’s amazing and an inspiration to many musicians old and new! I think this group is awesome and I’m sure they’re going to go far!
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  16. I’ve never heard of this band before! They’re talented and I enjoyed reading the interview with one of their members. It’s nice to see how passionate they are too.
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  17. Oh I’ll have to check them out! Sounds like my kind of band!

  18. Amy L Desrosiers says

    I love learning about new music! What a fun opportunity to get to know them better!

  19. So interesting to see that the turning point of the band was such a casual encounter. That’s usually the way though, isn’t it!

  20. Bob Dylan is always a favorite in our house. I need to check out the Old Crow Medicine Show to bring the happy vibes back home.

  21. What a great interview with a very talented musician. It’s always interesting to hear how bands got their rise to stardom. Sometimes the smallest decisions make you.

  22. Our Family World says

    I am not familiar with this band but I would love to listen to some of their songs. Thanks for sharing the interview. I will head on over to youtube and listen to their songs. They do look like a cool band.

  23. I have never heard of this band till your post! What a great interview! I can’t wait to hear some of their music now.

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