Railroad Earth, 11/7/10


Railroad Earth
The Ark
Ann Arbor, MI
November 7, 2010


In spite of a member change at the end of 2009 with Andrew Altman replacing longtime bassist Johnny Grubb, that left "earthworms" with a slight sense of uncertainty, 2010 has been a year to remember for Railroad Earth. It has come complete with a new critically acclaimed album, Railroad Earth, an even more aggressive tour schedule than in years’ past, and an ever increasing devoted base that hurdles demographic obstacles without breaking stride. 

Perhaps it is because of the honesty found in the lyrics of Todd Sheaffer. No, it is the fiery fiddle that Tim Carbone plays as though each bowing that he makes will be his last. Or could it be the interlay between mandolinist John Skehan and multi-instrumentalist Andy Goessling? Wait, it is definitely the backing and always present percussive section consisting of the aforementioned Altman and drummer Carey Harmon. Nope, all of these are wrong.

Railroad Earth have accomplished music mastery through a unique elemental integration that many have tried but few have been able to excel in. At a given moment and at the drop of a hat, they are able to pursue any direction that seems fit for the moment and thereby meet the very definition of improvisation.

They have managed to take the most basic instruments and create a sound that is expansive yet concise. Whether recorded or in the live setting, where any band truly earns its stripes, Railroad Earth is taking the music scene by storm and is doing so with no defined leaders. Rather, they are doing so as a cohesive unit that never fails to mystify, enchant, and shake the souls of college frat guys and recovering hippie soccer moms alike.

Set List (courtesy of Railroad Earth’s forum)

Set 1: Been Down This Road, Happy Song, Old Man and the Land, Lonecroft Ramble, Potter’s Field
Dover to Dunkirk, Lone Croft Farewell, New Lee Highway Blues>Fiddlee

Set 2: Long Way To Go, Where Songs Begin, Dance Around Molly>Dandelion Wine
Seven Story Mountain, Mighty River, Storms, Black Bear, Bird in a House, The Jupiter and the 119

Encores: Long Walk Home, Ragtime Annie Lee


Click the thumbnail to view Benjamin Slayter/Slayter Creative’s Shots from The Show!