Big Iron World

First discovered busking in front of a drugstore by the daughter of bluegrass legend Doc Watson, Old Crow Medicine Show has built a loyal following over the years through relentless touring and regular appearances on A Prairie Home Companion. Anyone who caught them when they traveled through Chico back in 2004 can testify to the band’s infectious attitude and refined showmanship. Although Big Iron World doesn’t feature an instant anthemic classic like “Wagon Wheel” from their last album, it is considerably stronger overall and better captures the boundless energy of the band’s live performances. The album is a fine mix of originals and traditionals and even features guest appearances from Gillian Welch and producer David Rawlings on several tracks. “Down Home Girl,” the classic Butler/Leiber paean to country girls, gets the album off the lusty start that is echoed by a rollicking cover of Woody Guthrie’s “Union Maid.” Of course, it’s a violation of union rules to have a bluegrass album without a killin’ song and a train song; fortunately the Old Crow originals “My Good Gal” and “New Virginia Creeper” fill those roles admirably.