Listen to Old Crow Medicine Show’s Cover of Bob Wills’ ‘Tiger Rag’
West Virginia's Asleep at the Wheel continue to honor the Western swing music of Bob Wills through a series of tribute albums, the third of which -- ‘Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys’ -- is due out March 3.
This time, Asleep at the Wheel recruited fellow Americana acts to appear on the album, including everyone from Willie Nelson to the Avett Brothers. Today (Dec. 18), they premiered the track ‘Tiger Rag,’ which features Old Crow Medicine Show.
“It’s a helluva cut,” Asleep at the Wheel frontman Ray Benson told Rolling Stone Country. “Every 10 years, there is a group of youngsters who are exactly what I was when I was young and saying, ‘What kind of music do I want to play?’ I wanted to play roots music.”
According to Benson, including ‘Tiger Rag’ on the album was Old Crow’s Ketch Secor’s idea.
“Ketch is a musicologist, and he figured it out and we played it with them,” Benson said. “They tore it up. It sounds like 1938.”
Secor takes his vast knowledge to explain what made Bob Wills a seminal Western swing musician.
“What made Bob Wills the ‘King of Western Swing’ was his pioneering fusion of the driving rhythm of jazz and a wild, melodious and highly original strain of country fiddling,” Secor explained. “Mixed together and shook up, this new, purely American genre rocked the dance halls on the far side of the Mississippi just as fiercely as rhythm and blues did the juke joints over on the other bank.”
More simply put, Secor says, “‘Tiger Rag’ is no mere pussycat. She’s a hillbilly hellcat, busted loose and ready to pounce.”
Take a listen Old Crow’s rendition of the spirited cut below, via Rolling Stone: