Wagon Wheel – Ketch Secor Version

This is an online fiddle lesson for the Ketch Secor version of "Wagon Wheel."

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Genre: Folk, Country
Skill Level: Intermediate
Key of A

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Video #1: Here is a video of me cross-tuning the fiddle and playing Ketch Secor's version of "Wagon Wheel."

 

Wagon Wheel - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Wagon Wheel - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Wagon Wheel - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Wagon Wheel - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Wagon Wheel - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Wagon Wheel - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

Wagon Wheel - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

 

 

 

 

 

"Wagon Wheel" is a song originally sketched by Bob Dylan. It was later modified by Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show.  Old Crow Medicine Show's version was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 2013.  The song has been covered many times, most famously by Darius Rucker in 2013, who made it into a number one Hot Country Songs, and English singer Nathan Carter in 2012.

"Wagon Wheel" is composed of two different parts. The chorus and melody for the song come from a demo recorded by Bob Dylan during the Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid sessions. Although never officially released, the Dylan song was released on a bootleg and is usually named after the chorus and its refrain, "Rock Me Mama." Although Dylan left the song an unfinished sketch, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show wrote verses for the song around Dylan's original chorus. Secor's additional lyrics transformed "Rock Me Mama" into "Wagon Wheel."

Chris "Critter" Fuqua, school friend and future bandmate, first brought home a Bob Dylan bootleg from a family trip to London containing a rough outtake called "Rock Me, Mama" (from the "Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid" soundtrack sessions) and passed it to Secor. Not "so much a song as a sketch, crudely recorded featuring most prominently a stomping boot, the candy-coated chorus and a mumbled verse that was hard to make out," the tune kept going through Secor's mind. A few months later, while attending Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and "feeling homesick for the South," he added verses about "hitchhiking his way home full of romantic notions put in his head by the Beat poets and, most of all, Dylan."

Never officially released, besides the melody, only the chorus (or refrain) comes from the Dylan outtake:

So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

Secor's verses tell "the story of a man who travels from New England, through Philadelphia, PA and Roanoke, VA, down the eastern coast of the United States, ending up in Raleigh, North Carolina where he hopes to see his love." They contain a geographic impossibility: heading "west from the Cumberland Gap" to Johnson City, Tennessee "you'd have to go east." Secor explains: "I got some geography wrong, but I still sing it that way. I just wanted the word 'west' in there. 'West' has got more power than 'east.'" The Dylan outtake, generally titled "Rock Me Mama", came out of recording sessions for the Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid movie soundtrack (1973) in Burbank, California.

source: Wikipedia

 

Wagon Wheel

Headed down south to the land of the pines
I'm thumbin' my way into North Caroline
Starin' up the road
And pray to God I see headlights
I made it down the coast in seventeen hours
Pickin' me a bouquet of dogwood flowers
And I'm a hopin' for Raleigh
I can see my baby tonight

Refrain:
So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me

Runnin' from the cold up in New England
I was born to be a fiddler in an old-time string band
My baby plays the guitar
I pick a banjo now
Oh, the North country winters keep a gettin' me now
Lost my money playin' poker so I had to up and leave
But I ain't a turnin' back
To livin' that old life no more

Refrain

Walkin' due south out of Roanoke
I caught a trucker out of Philly
Had a nice long toke
But he's a headed west from the Cumberland Gap
To Johnson City, Tennessee
And I gotta get a move on before the sun
I hear my baby callin' my name
And I know that she's the only one
And if I die in Raleigh
At least I will die free
Posted in Country, Folk, Intermediate Tagged with:

This topic contains 31 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  John Cockman 1 year ago.

Viewing 32 posts - 1 through 32 (of 32 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #22126

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Finally, a lesson for this oft requested tune.

    Wagon Wheel

    #22128

    capt.krasno
    Participant

    Woo!

    #22132
    peggys
    peggys
    Participant

    That was great John!  I’m a tad bit nervous about changing tunings but I would like to try it.  Maybe I’ll tune Kevin Bacon to AEAE and leave my baby in standard tuning…at least with the electric fiddle not plugged in I won’t offend any ears 😉

    #22135
    nagumaq
    nagumaq
    Participant

    Wow zeee , very nice tune. Love the way you sing it John !
    Thanks to whoever requested the song and meny blessings for the lesson.
    Thanks
    Gu

    #22137
    Rock
    Rock
    Participant

    Wow!!! John, sweet! 🙂

    #22149

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Thanks! It is out of my low vocal range when I do it in the key of A.

    Here is a tip: If you have a lower voice like mine, you can tune the high strings down to G and D instead of tuning the low strings up to A and E. Then you are tuned GDGD which is called g-cross-tuning or sawmill tuning. Then the band can play the song in G which is not so high.

    Speaking of not so high, I did say “nice long talk” in that video. I learned that from my band-mate Dustin. 🙂

    #22155

    Angela
    Participant

    Looking forward to learning this one.  I’ve been playing around with your freeform version some.  This will make it a little easier.

    Thanks for the lyric adjustment…just can’t see the original coming from you…or me! :^)

    #22178

    Kaeleigh
    Participant

    I’m really excited about learning this one! Yay! My family and I have been singing this for years, My Dad changed the lyrics a bit too, but I couldn’t quite get the fiddle part! Thank you 🙂

    #22179

    Kaeleigh
    Participant

    I must confess, though, that I’m a bit nervous about tuning the fiddle to A. Couldn’t it possibly be detrimental to the instrument, to tune the strings up a whole step?

    #22182
    nagumaq
    nagumaq
    Participant

    [quote=22179]possibly be detrimental[/quote]
    I wonder A ? What does detrimental mean , it sounds like death trimental yikes ! No , I wouldnt think so Kaeleigh , people been tunning up and down for centuries and I guess I would just have to add, like meny teachers out there have said before , before putting your fiddle away tune all your strings down a half step and you keep both the fiddle and your strings to last longer :O)
    Just a tip, if you are tunning up or down a lot , try to lubricate your nut and bridge where the strings touch ,because if the string has friction it can be failled , resulting in a string that has bezar high overtones .And it minimalises the chances of your bridge moving as well.When tunning up, the bridge can sometimes want to bend over twards the neck but I would not worry about just tunning up a tone :O)

    #22195
    Justine
    Justine
    Participant

    Thanks for the advice, Gu. Also, if you have more than one violin, you can cross tune one of them and leave the other in standard tuning. I am glad to know that changing by one tone will not stress the violin.

    #22200

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Good advice Gu. Kaeleigh, we would love to hear your version! I think I am going to record this on again in the key of G (sawmill tuning) for the sake of my voice.

    Tuning up does stress the string beyond their designed tension, but it should be safe. It even makes the strings sound brighter and more exciting. Tuning down, to me, makes the strings lose brightness.

    Yeah, the “toke” line is a little too juvenile for me. I’ll admit I change lyrics of songs a lot to make them fit my situation a little better. Then I can sing the words with a more feeling. I thought about changing the lyrics to say “west TO the Cumberland Gap THROUGH Johnson City, TN” instead of the other way around just so the geography would make sense, then I decided just to leave it. Hey, it was written by a 17 year old kid whose main goal was to include the state capital and the state flower. You have to love that.

    #22335

    Kaeleigh
    Participant

    With Ashokan Farewell behind me, I started this right away this morning! So fun! And not quite as hard as I thought. 🙂 I tuned up my fiddle and love the sound! I’m not sure what key my family plays it in, but wouldn’t it be just the same in cross-G?

    #22346

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Yep — one of the cool things about tablature (as opposed to notation) is it looks the same whether your are in cross-A or cross-G.

    #22429
    Great Scott
    Great Scott
    Moderator

    John, I overlooked this one, and so I apologize for my late comment.

    Brilliant as always; and such a great catchy tune with some great singing. Love that voice! And despite the throat problem, I thought you still sounded GREAT!!! 🙂

    #23596

    dlsada
    Participant

    Worth the price of the subscription! Thanks for that effort!!

    #23600

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Thanks Great Scott and dlsada! I want to keep my subscribers happy. 🙂

    #23761

    Angela
    Participant

    I’m working on this.  I’m using the standard tuning notation you have and also trying to mix it up with your Amantha Mill versions.  :^)

    Darius Rucker’s fiddle player has some licks that sound a lot like your AM version.  I don’t think he’s crossed tuned.  Is he?

    #23766

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    No, the fiddler in the Darius Rucker version is not cross-tuned. I’ll tab that one out!

    #23780

    Angela
    Participant

    Working on the fiddle got me interested in recapturing my guitar skills (which were pretty low).  But, I’ve been practicing on that some and can get around most any song now.

    I have a brother who’s been messing with guitar for awhile now.

    Last weekend, we had our first-ever family campfire singalong!!!  woohoo

    When Wagon Wheel rolled around, I whipped out the fiddle and played a little.  Couldn’t do the whole thing but got far enough that the younguns were impressed.  :^)

    I’ve been a little inundated with work, so my fiddling progress is creeping right now, but I’m still having fun and learning.

    Thanks John!!!!!

    Angela

    #23786

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Angela, that sounds awesome! A family campfire singalong. Love it! And yes, “Wagon Wheel” does impress the kids. 🙂

    #24275

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    The Darius Rucker version of Wagon Wheel is no on the Sheet Music page. Thank you Arwen!

    #24295

    HeyMikey
    Participant

    Awesome, I’ve been afraid to try to tune up again since I broke my D string.

    #24296

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    You are in luck — the Darius Rucker version is in standard (GDAE) tuning!

    #27163

    ejstidham
    Participant

    I was wondering if the Darius version sounds the same as the cross tuned version. In other word could I use the Darius tabs and listen to the cross tuned video to hear how the song goes or are they played different?

    #27165
    nagumaq
    nagumaq
    Participant

    Thanks Arwen, your amazing !
    Gu

    #27194

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    It is the same, for the most part. I have not yet created the backing tracks for the Rucker version. I will get it soon!

    #29843

    ejstidham
    Participant

    Would it be possible to get a slow metronome version of the darius rucker version, I think I could figure it out( or pretty close ) if I could hear the fiddle parts, I know your busy, but if you could pretty please add it to your mountain pile of things to do…thx

    #29844

    ejstidham
    Participant

    I ment to say even if it was just the audio, and not a video..thx again

    #29858

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Yes — this will be the first thing I do after the 12 days of Christmas, if not sooner. Thanks for being patient!

    #29867

    ejstidham
    Participant

    Thank you, I’m going to focus on this song since fall semester is over. It’s not easy being an old guy going back to school…lol

    #29903

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    BGDU is always in session! 🙂

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