11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Chance McCoy

Chance McCoyYes, that is a Grammy that Chance McCoy is holding. Earned for Old Crow Medicine Show’s 2014 Best Folk Album, “Remedy,” it’s just another “pinch-me” moment in McCoy’s remarkable story. In 2012, the struggling-to-survive music teacher got the call of a lifetime, and since then has been a proud and respected member of the OCMS.

But, this incredible multi-instrumentalist is branching out once again do a side thing on his own. From the stage of his recent three-Monday-night “Electric Crow Residency” at The Basement, he said: “I had a solo career before and nobody knew about it, so, I get to start over.” Playing in a trio format with Trent Owen on drums and our friend Kellen Wenrich on bass, these shows were the kind of thing that remind you of  just what a special place Music City can still be. You can watch an entire one of the three Monday nights here at Chance’s Facebook page.

During that first solo career, Chance McCoy & the Appalachian String Band released a much-loved record of old-time fiddle tunes in 2008 called “Debut.” For the new McCoy, there is a four-song made-to-order release at Amazon entitled “Electric Crow Residency – Rehearsal Mixtape (Live)” to whet your appetite while you wait for the record he currently has in progress

While McCoy’s interest in old time music may be his calling card, his original musical style is quite versatile with a song like “See Me Shine” likely to even find its way to rock radio. This ode to living the life of a Nashville musician is in the running to become 11 Questions official theme song.

Chance McCoy is a talented, fun-loving guy with an old soul and an easy laugh. His story brings a smile to my face, and I am honored to have received his “eleven.”  Next time they’re in town, be sure to do as Chance asks, “Come hear us shine now!”


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I’m from West-by-God, Virginia; Harpers Ferry to be exact.  In 2012, I was broke, living in a busted old cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains trying to keep food on the table for my little boy by teaching fiddle lessons at the local and pounding nails for a nearby hippy commune. That’s when Old Crow called me.  They asked if I wanted a job playing in their band, and I said sure. It’s been nothing but sold-out shows and filet mignon dinners ever since.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

The last record I bought was Robert Plant’s Carry Fire on vinyl, it’s the best solo album he’s ever made, totally epic and inspiring. He produced that himself too.  The first was “Funky Cold Medina” by Tone Lōc on cassette, I probably bought that at a Jamesway department store or some gas station.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen? 

The first concert I ever went to was Lollapalooza in ‘95.  It blew me away!  I had never seen so many freaks like me before, I remember thinking I had found my people.  I remember when I first walked through the gates some redneck shouted, “nice tits” at my girlfriend who was about 14 at the time.  I remember seeing Smashing Pumpkins and The Beastie Boys.  The Beastie Boys had just put out that song “Sabotage’” as a single.  They hit that first riff of that song, and the crowd exploded.

After the concert, my friends and I went to a local substitute teacher’s house and got lit.  I remember drinking “40’s” and the house reeking of cat urine.  The cops eventually raided the party, and I remember my friend hiding naked behind the front door when the cops rushed in.

The last show I saw was Dave Rawlings at the Ryman, it reminded me why folk music is so damn good.  Unfortunately, the after party wasn’t quite as rowdy as Lollapalooza had been in ‘95, but hey, that was a moment in time.  The grunge movement of the 90’s will never happen again, but hopefully I’ll get to see someone hide naked behind a door from the cops again.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

DeFord Bailey without a doubt.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

Ugly Mugs is my go to coffee place.  The baristas don’t have a stick stuck up their ass, and there is a nice place to chill outside.  One of the best slices in town is definitely Two Boots Pizzeria.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

Hmm! That’s a tough one, I’d say John Hartford’s Aereo-Plain.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

It’s still surprisingly hard to find good late-night grub here after a gig, some of my go-to’s are The Treehouse and Five Points Pizza. M.L. Rose is good for a late-night meal too.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Ah, luckily, I’ve already got that figured out. You see, I’ve never played there, but I appeared on the show Nashville recently playing in a round at the Bluebird, except of course it wasn’t the real one.  Nashville has built a replica of The Bluebird Cafe on a soundstage where they could film uninterrupted without having to rent out the real thing.  I appeared on the show playing in a round there with “Haley” who is played by my friend Rhiannon Giddens and “Deacon” who is played by my buddy Chip Easton.  So, we made a deal we’d play there together sometime for real.  I guess the third person would have to be Vince Gill, just cause.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

I really like the OG Basement on 8th Ave. I guess because it never feels intimidating there, always like a big group of friends.  I really want to play on that circular stage in Opry Mills one day. That could be my next fav.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

It’d be cool if Stevie Nicks moved here, and maybe some classic Hip Hop artist too like Snoop Dog or Lauren Hill.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

I’m wanting to launch my solo career, so I’m working on my first record.  It’s gonna be a total trip, pulling in all these musical elements I’ve been dabbling in for years, all wrapped around some killer songs.  All the tunes fit together in a sequence that takes the listener on a journey as the record unfolds.  I start tracking it next week.  The LP will be called The Electric Crow.


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