Thursday night, Old Crow Medicine Show covers Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" at the Orpheum.

old crow medicine show photo
Old Crow Medicine Show

Who: Old Crow Medicine Show
What: The Americana band plays Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde
When: Thursday, 8:30 p.m.
Where: The Orpheum Theatre
Why: Bob Dylan effectively invented Americana music in 1966 with Blonde on Blonde. The albums that preceded it showed Dylan broadening folk’s sound and modes of expression, but the two-record set didn’t simply fold rock, country and pop into his folk. On it, he made rock and pop songs, and Andy Warhol’s Factory was as present in the final product as the Greenwich Village folk scene. 

Old Crow Medicine Show are the right band to honor the album. Bluegrass musician Doc Watson discovered it in 2000, when it was part of a string band revival. They weren’t a jam band when jam bands were hot, but they were jam-adjacent. When Mumford and Sons and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes presented a more pop-friendly folk, Old Crow got another look and listen as it joined both bands on their train tour of America. 

Old Crow performed Blonde on Blonde in 2016 at the request of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and it released the results this spring as Fifty Years of Blonde on Blonde. The versions aren’t redundant in their fidelity to the originals, but since Dylan’s clearly important to the band’s sound, the new versions comfortably echo the originals. Still, Old Crow performs a public service with this tour because if there’s one thing Dylan is unlikely to do, it’s play Blonde on Blonde in its entirety, and if he did, who could tell?