Old Crow Medicine Band (Courtesy of Facebook)

Ithaca, N.Y. — Once street performers in Ithaca, the Old Crow Medicine Show won the Grammy for “Best Folk Album” last night.

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The Old Crow Medicine Show also won a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video, but the “Best Folk Album” award takes their fame to new heights.

“We started our 18th year of making music together this year, and we want to thank Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie for lighting the way,” singer Ketch Secor — an Ithaca College graduate, class of 1998 — said on the stage last night after winning, according to TheBoot.com.

Old Crow Medicine Band (Courtesy of Facebook)

Secor first moved to Ithaca when he was 19-years-old to be with his girlfriend, a student at Cornell at the time, according to a profile in Rolling Stone:

“Last year, Darius Rucker scored a Number One country hit with a cover of Old Crow’s “Wagon Wheel,” which Secor wrote when he was 17 using a song fragment he heard on a Bob Dylan bootleg from 1973’s Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid sessions.” 

A profile by Syracuse.com’s Chris Baker, “How a group of Ithaca street performers in Ithaca became the biggest bluegrass band in America,” traced the band’s rise:

“Old Crow Medicine Show come from humble beginnings. Not your typical “playing in bars to pay the rent,” beginnings.

Not even “living with mom and dad and working at Starbucks” beginnings.

No, they come from “playing on the street corner so we can afford to eat today” beginnings.”

After moving to Ithaca, Secor brought a friend of his named Critter Fuqua.

Fuqua told the Elmira Star Gazette in May 2013:

‘Ithaca and that surrounding area was a big influence on us. We wouldn’t be here without a lot of the people we met there, like Richie Stearns, the Red Hots and Mac Benford.

All those old-time banjo players brought the music from the South back up to New York, and it was kind of a hotbed.’

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.