Railroad Earth chugs through Fayetteville

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 138 views 

The northwest New Jersey bluegrass band Railroad Earth will pull into George’s Majestic Lounge Monday (Feb. 6) as part of its 2012 winter tour. The Fayetteville stop is sandwiched between shows in Atlanta and Lawrence, Kan., where scores of RRE fans can be found.

The rowdy crowds at George’s have just as much steam, said the band’s red-headed mandolin player, John Skehan.

“We usually get a pretty wound-up, pretty fun crowd there,” Skehan said of George’s.

In addition to mandolin, Railroad Earth has a couple of acoustic guitars, violin, dobro, banjo, drums, saxophone, flute and stand-up base. Everybody in the band sings.
The band does between 80 to 100 shows a year, which leaves little time writing and recording new music. They did, however, manage to squeeze out a self-titled CD last year.

Previous CDs were recorded with the band playing live together in the studio. The band’s latest effort was the first time they worked with a producer since their 2004 CD, The Good Life. The nine-track Railroad Earth was produced Angelo Montrone, in association with Michael Caplan (Allman Brothers Band, Los Lonely Boys, Keb’ Mo’) and is considered the band’s most diverse collection to date. Tracks range from rousing ballads and string-band funk to wistful waltzes and quirky time signature folk.

“It yielded a different-sounding record than we’ve done before,” said Skehan. “And now about a year later, having taken those songs out on the road and played them through most the country, they’re beginning to morph themselves into something completely different.”

The show at George’s will no doubt be part of the CD’s road test.

A complete list of shows is available at the band’s website.