Many bands embark on what they call “co-headlining” tours. Few execute the concept as well as roots rockers Old Crow Medicine Show and singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile did last night at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. While each played a hearty 90-minute set, the two acts also shared the stage on several occasions, making the show into a truly collaborative venture. You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here
Playing in the headlining slot, Carlile veered from laid-back summery tunes such as the shimmering “Hard Way,” a song that featured pristine harmony vocals, to the traditional country-ish “Keep Your Heart Young.” Flanked by lanky twin brothers Tim and Phil Hanseroth, the diminutive Carlile often slid up to the microphone as she delivered rousing renditions of “I Was Made For You,” a tune that had an epic quality (think Radiohead’s “Creep” only with some twang) and “The Things I Regret.”
At one point in the set, Carlile recalled a previous appearance at House of Blues about ten years ago and said that she felt a strong bond with Cleveland audiences ever since that show. “Dying Day” suffered from a slightly awkward mid-song transition as her drummer switched from washboard to his drum kit, but the song’s beautiful chorus kept it from falling apart. Carlile brought the Old Crow guys onto the stage for a rendition of the Eagles’ “Peaceful Easy Feeling” that found members huddled round the microphone at center stage.
Her encore came off as a veritable jam session as Carlile and Old Crow Medicine Show ripped into ramshackle renditions of “Jolene,” “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35” and “Folsom Prison Blues.”
During their 90-minute opening set, Old Crow Medicine Show used a variety of instruments to offer its take on old-time music. At one point, they played a snippet of “This Land is Your Land” that came complete with banjo, fiddle and harmonica. Their twangy songs often sound like they’re from an another era. Carlile, whom the Old Crow guys introduced as "the pride of the Olympic peninsula," joined them for a rendition of the John Prine tune “Angel from Montgomery.” She and the Old Crow guys expertly traded verses on the classic tune.
Near their set’s end, the guys offered a rousing rendition of “Wagon Wheel,” the unfinished Dylan song that Old Crow completed and turned into a massive hit. It had the audience that filled about two thirds of the venue on its feet, and the guys let fans sing the spirited song’s refrain in unison.