Prom With A Country Twist?

I went to high school at The Bolles School which was a boarding/day student preparatory school in the beautiful city of Jacksonville, Florida. It was a pretty conservative school with a very ethnically diverse population. Kids from all over the world (Spain, China, Greece etc) went there as it excelled not only in sports, but also in the classroom.

Anyway, moving forward to my senior year of prom… I’m not sure what prom is like in other schools but I’m sure it’s all the same. We dressed up in fancy tuxedos, took pictures at a location, and then hopped into a limo that took us to the dance. There were poker and black jack tables, picture booths, the whole 9 yards. We had a “lock in” till 10pm for some security reasons so basically we’d dance around, eat, and have a great time. The last song was usually a slow song where you’d slow dance with your date (by slow dance I mean step back and forth while slowly turning around in a circle).

This was when “Wagon Wheel” by The Old Crow Medicine Show came on, and I must admit, was probably the first country song I actually fancied and took the effort to find out the name of it. Which brings me to share a little cool things about the song. When I first googled the song, the Darius Rucker version, which was released in 2013 popped up. In my humble opinion, I thought this version was a rip off. For starters, Rucker’s music video gets kinda weird half way through. He’s basically playing the guitar on a railroad (which makes sense), but then switches to him literally “thumbing” a ride to a bar in Tennessee to play in. In the bar, the bouncer tries to stop him from going in. From what I’ve gathered, the bouncer either stops him because he’s looking at this pretty white girl, or because he’s black. Either way, I find that part a little odd.

I find the original version and music video a lot more relatable and traditional. The music video portrays a more traditional and conservative setting, which helps bring out the “country” in it. The twang in Ketch Secor’s voice helps bring this song about a hitchhiker traveling from New England through Virginia trying to get to his lover in Raleigh, North Carolina to life whereas Rucker’s version lacks the persona and character needed.

While this song has reached platinum and gold certification in the U.S. and Canada respectively, it has been scrutinized by some. The song was written by Bob Dylan and later modified by Ketch Secor. In an article by the Nashville Scene, it claims Wagon Wheel was a by product of Dylan’s “Rock Me Mamma”- which was scrapped in the 70s. Secor picked up the song and tweaked the verses around the song’s chorus to make it a hit.

hqdefaultIn all honesty, I think Secor and his band should be praised for turning a scrap, kept alive only by bootleggers, into a one of the best country songs out there. This song also happened to be the band’s ticket into the Grand Ole Opry. So props to Secor and his band members for turning a broken record into a magical piece that will always hit home in my eyes.


Filed under Blog Post 3, Dancing, Hall of Fame

6 Responses to Prom With A Country Twist?

  1. Shira Yoram

    I think its great that this is the first country song that you liked enough to look up after hearing it. I enjoy both versions, but I agree with you that the original is definitely better. I think Darius Rucker has some great hits though, and it isn’t surprising that his rendition of ‘Wagon Wheel’ became so popular. However, the original does have a more authentic sound that can’t be replaced or emulated. I had never seen the Darius Rucker version music video before seeing this blog. I also think it is a weird interpretation of the song.

  2. Lottie Glazer

    I can really relate to this article. Last weekend I took my friends from Chicago and New York home with me to Dallas. To get them in the mood even though they claimed to hate country music I managed to sneak in a few country songs in here and there. When I played the original version of “Wagon Wheel” they loved it, later in the car ride though I played the Darius Rucker version. When I played it they were appalled that this was the more popular version. They liked the original so much more. Both are great versions but I have to agree that the original is better.

  3. Olivia English

    I think it’s really cool that you actually took the time to look up that first song you liked, and went deeper into the history of it. I had never seen either of the music videos for Wagon Wheel (the original or Rucker’s cover) before reading your post, but I agree with you that the original is more relatable and works better with the song. I do think that Rucker’s cover is good to listen to, but the original tops it, especially after watching the videos.

  4. Katerina Biancardi

    Solid post, Joseph! You did a nice job of painting the scene of your experience with “Wagon Wheel,” and how you remembered it. I went to high school in North Carolina, and everyone was generally obsessed with “Wagon Wheel” because of the line “If I die in Raleigh, at least I’ll die free.” However, the original was not the popular one, rather it was Rucker’s cover. I think the reason for this was because everyone likes the more newer version in high school. But the original is so much better. The use of instruments are certainly country to a tee, and maybe that is why is so authentic .

  5. Mackenzi McAfee

    This is fantastic! I am relieved to hear that you found the original version of Wagon Wheel and that you like it better.. I don’t think there is even a comparison in the two versions and I am a true fan of Old Crow! They have some sort an authentic sound and I totally respect their original version. No offense to Darius Rucker, but he definitely has a pop country aspect to his music and the authenticity is lacking. I think if Old Crow Medicine Show were more well known the song would have been a huge hit! For me, the song was a huge hit though because all of my friends were obsessed with it in high school!

  6. Drew Scherger

    I think its interesting how much this song has picked up over the years. One of my friends was a big fan of Old Crow and showed me this song in middle school. For a while, I don’t remember too many people listening to it until high school when it seemed like if you were in a band it was almost a requirement to play this song. I think its funny how quickly this song has become a country standard. I was walking down Broadway in Nashville with some friends over the summer and we heard three bands playing the song within about 10 minutes.

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