September 19, 2012 1 comment
Railroad Earth took the stage to a nearly full Red Rocks last Friday night for their first ever co-headline with prog-rock gurus Umphrey’s McGee. The crowd came early and stayed late for the diverse duo, who combined for more than 5 hours of live music. Comprised of some of the most talented musicians in their field, Railroad Earth can best be described as good ol’ fashioned American rock n’ roll with a bluegrass twist. They sing of our nation’s changing landscape and social ills with a commitment reminiscent of Woody Guthrie, while interpolating instrumental timbres that could have been pulled from Celtic or Cajun culture. Perhaps the best thing to ever come out of New Jersey, the sextet produces sharp and cohesive sounds that effortlessly intertwine and take their audience on a cross-country tour. To me, Railroad Earth is a group as impressive in caliber as any touring today.
The guys have revamped their sound in the last couple of years, and have opted to utilize their talented singing voices to create vocal harmonies to compliment their already stellar instrumental prowess. Last Friday the band played smoothly through a memorable two hour set featuring originals like Long Way to Go and Mighty River, with Todd Sheaffer’s unique voice leading the way and legendary violinist Tim Carbone lighting up the crowd. Midway through their set, the guys brought Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee out to tackle the keys on a ten-minute version of Elko. Finally, just before the lights went out on their set, Railroad Earth made sure to keep the crowd hungry for some more tunes with an intense Colorado that brought the house down.
Their transitions were excellent and their style remains unique, yet inviting. I have been fortunate enough to see them twice now, and both shows have exceeded my expectations. I went to this show with my roommate, who had never heard of Railroad Earth. Even though we arrived a few minutes after RRE had taken the stage, my roommate immediately commented on how impressed she was with their stage presence and sound. Railroad Earth is coming off of a monstrous summer tour, including a busy festival circuit, with shows at Old Settler’s Music Festival in TX, DelFest in MD, Wakarusa in AR, All Good in OH, High Sierra in CA, Four Corners Folk Festival in CO, and many, many more!
The guys are still touring, despite their insane summer schedule. For those of you who have never heard of them and have never had a chance to see them, Railroad Earth is taking their act on another cross-country tour over the next few months. Check out the tour dates here! And for those of you living in Cali, the band is putting together a music festival of their own around Halloween. Railroad Earth’s Hangtown Halloween Ball in Placerville, CA will take place on Oct. 26-28, and features some pretty incredible acts: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, The Del McCoury Band, ALO, Keller Williams, The Infamous String Dusters, Emmitt-Nershi Band, Orgone, and a whole bunch of other badass acts.