Early in his sophomore year at Wofford, Thomas Rowland IV ’23 wrote a song about a woman and the trials of their relationship. He called the anthem “Ragdoll,” and it became the first original song he performed for an audience.
On April 13, Rowland will have the opportunity to perform the song for the largest crowd of his budding career when he opens for Old Crow Medicine Show at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. While he’s played at colleges and bars throughout the Carolinas, this will be his first ticketed gig.
“I’m really a low-key, quiet person, and the attention I’ve gotten since this was announced has been overwhelming,” says Rowland, a Spanish and environmental studies major from Georgetown, South Carolina. “It’s the most attention I’ve had to deal with consistently.”
Rowland landed the gig thanks to Woody Platt, a family friend and founding member of bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers.
“He’s been introducing me to people and helping me find my way,” says Rowland. “He called me one day and asked if I wanted to open for Old Crow in Spartanburg, and of course I said yes.”
Rowland says preparing for the performance and keeping up with his work in the classroom has made for a busy semester.
“It’s a tough balancing act,” he says. “I’ve got a really bad case of senioritis, but I’m staying on top of my work as much as I can. My professors have been really understanding, so I don’t want to let them down.”
Rowland and his new band, Thomas Rowland and Company, will play a 40-minute set. Rowland says they’ll play five to seven original songs and one cover.
Rowland says he’s hoping this gig will be a springboard for bigger things for the band. He says he’s planning accordingly.
“This has pushed me to become more focused on my music,” he says. “I’ve got a notebook full of songs that I need to put music to, and I’m going to dig deeper to look for more new songs going forward after Old Crow.”
Rowland hopes he can one day give an aspiring performer the same exposure Old Crow Medicine Show is giving him.
“I hope I’ll one day have the opportunity to have openers,” he says. “It would be cool to help other artists find their platform through my own, if I’m fortunate enough to have one.”