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JOHN PAUL JONES – Old Crow Medicine Show/David Rawlings Machine, 02 ABC, Glasgow

18 September 2010 7,119 views 3 Comments


Review by Fiona Shepherd from The Scotsman

Dave Rawlings is best known for playing second banjo to his partner Gillian Welch but Dave Rawlings Machine is his opportunity to take charge and, in this support slot to his friends, associates and sometime band mates Old Crow Medicine Show, it looked like he might run away with all the glory.
Welch was present and attempting to keep a low profile in the ensemble but there was no hiding the excitement of the crowd at her presence. And who was that unassuming older gentleman on mandolin? No less than John Paul Jones of Led-freakin’-Zeppelin, just getting on with business.
Rawlings wears his illustrious connections lightly. He’s not a particularly commanding vocalist and more of an accidental front man, but his renditions of traditional and original material – including a seamless medley of Old Crow’s I Hear Them All and Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land – were woven into a mellifluous, nicely textured symphony of strings and unobtrusive vocal harmonies.
In the end, it wasn’t that difficult for Old Crow Medicine Show to steal back the thunder simply by bringing the energy and the banter. The six-piece opened their vibrant, witty hoedown clustered round one microphone for a lusty rendition of the traditional British sea shanty Hog-Eye Man. They had done their local homework too, peppering their set with Glaswegian references and rustling up a “killin’ song” to mark their sojourn in the city.
Their transatlantic party continued with a hell-for-leather rendition of Mama’s Little Baby Loves Shortnin’ Bread, crowd singalongs to CC Rider and their own Wagon Wheel and a massed finale, involving Rawlings, Welch and JPJ, of The Band’s The Weight.
Old Crow Medicine Show/David Rawlings Machine, 02 ABC, Glasgow

Review by Rob Adams from The Herald

Between Robert Plant teaming up with first Alison Krauss and now a hot pickin’ crew including Buddy Miller and Darrell Scott, and John Paul Jones turning up as the mandolinist in David Rawlings’ band as his latest bluegrass assignment, Led Zeppelin’s reunion as a Bill Monroe tribute band rather than heavy metal gods seems increasingly plausible.

Jones was a casually accomplished cog in a Rawlings Machine that played way above its opening act status. Essentially Rawlings’ long-time partnership with the sweetheart of the old-time murder ballad, Gillian Welch, reversed so that he’s out-front and she’s the harmonic embellishment, this is a machine with a heart as well as plenty of horse power. With three- sixths of Old Crow Medicine Show completing the line-up, the orchestrations of fiddle, mandolin, guitars, banjo and upright bass were rich and robust but beautifully tempered behind Rawling’s passionate singing and brilliantly inventive and expansive playing on his vintage Gibson guitar.

If I Hear Them All turned the ABC into a bluegrass church, Welch soon restored it to a honky tonk with her tale of the wayward Miss Ohio, and Sweet Tooth and Too Easy to Be Good offered the twin novelties of seeing Jones as one third of both a rakish fiddle trio and a dance troupe.

Without Rawlings’ guiding hand, Old Crow Medicine Show by comparison sounded harsh and callow but with obvious crowd-pleasing energy and commitment. These last two qualities were channelled very effectively, however, with the reappearance of Rawlings, Welch and Jones for a finale that combined back porch informality with Grand Ole Opry standard pickin’ and singin’.

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  • Ingy said:

    It seems that JPJ and Robert have quite a bit of common ground. Plant and Jones anyone?

  • Michael Brazee said:

    I saw Old Crow Medicine Show open for Derek Trucks/Susan Tedeschi back in July in Rochester, NY. Real good show. I can see how he would fit in with them.

  • jeff haun said:

    Maybe all this with Robert and JPJ will inspire Jimmy to get that old Martin out and record something I’ve always wanted – a disc of acoustic guitar instrumentals. I’ve always preferred Jimmy’s acoustic playing anyway.

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