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Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth emerged from the breakup of one of New Jersey's most popular bands, From Good Homes, in early 2001. Later that year, with appearances at some of the major summer festivals on the bluegrass circuit under their belt -- including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, and High Sierra Music Festival -- Railroad Earth showed that their music could go well beyond the realm of traditional bluegrass to incorporate folk, Celtic, jazz, and rock music. Todd Sheaffer, the group's main songwriter and former lead singer of From Good Homes, stood at the forefront of the group's vision, and Railroad Earth began releasing albums within six months of the band's formation.

Railroad Earth's seeds were planted as far back as 1998, when violinist Timothy Carbone (Blue Sparks from Hell, Kings in Disguise) met film music supervisor Brian Ross, a former booking agent with Family Tree Agency, at the now-defunct Wetlands club in New York City. The two started a conversation about bluegrass music during a break in the evening's lineup. After keeping in touch for several months, the two hatched an idea to gather together professional musicians in New Jersey to play bluegrass at informal jam sessions. Meanwhile, Ross hired Carbone and Andy Goessling (also in Blue Sparks from Hell, Kings in Disguise) to play music for the film Big Eden. Sheaffer arrived at the bluegrass sessions in the fall of 2000 with some new songs, which the musicians rendered as bluegrass numbers.

All the musicians started to gather at the Shindig, an open-mike event sponsored by the Pocono Bluegrass Society. Informal jam sessions continued at Goessling's house, with multi-instrumentalist John Skehan (Bobby Syvarth Band) joining the other three musicians. Eventually, Ross approached the musicians about forming a band and performing as Railroad Earth. The new group secured its core members in Sheaffer (who handled vocals and acoustic guitar), Goessling (acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo, penny whistle, saxophone), Carbone (violin, acoustic guitar), and session player John Skehan (mandolin, guitar, piano). Drummer/percussionist Carey Harmon (formerly with the Hour and Bobby Syvarth Band) and upright/electric bassist Dave Von Dollen completed the lineup in January 2001.

One month after forming, the bluegrass-rock group recorded a five-song demo at Mixolydian Studios in Lafayette, New Jersey. Four of those songs ("Head," "Black Bear," "Stillwater Getaway," and "Cold Water") were combined with six new songs recorded in April 2001 to form the band's debut CD, The Black Bear Sessions, which was released in June by BOS Music. Railroad Earth broadened their songwriting style during the remainder of 2001, carrying on the improvisational, multiple-genre tradition started by the Grateful Dead, String Cheese Incident, Phish, and Leftover Salmon. The group skated the edge of traditional bluegrass and the jam band tradition to produce an eclectic blend of folk, Celtic, jazz, and rock filtered through a bluegrass lens. A second album (and the band's first release for Sugar Hill), Bird in a House, followed in 2002, and producer Stewart Lerman joined Railroad Earth in the studio to record 2004's The Good Life. A live album named Elko followed in early 2006.

Railroad Earth toured heavily, but the band also found time to regularly return to the studio. In 2008, the guys released their fourth studio effort, Amen Corner, which doubled as their last recording with bassist Johnny Grubb, who had replaced Dave Von Dollen five years prior. The group drafted Andrew Altman as his replacement and hit the studio once again, this time to record 2010's self-titled Railroad Earth. After long periods of touring and some well-deserved time off, the band reentered the studio in 2013. In January of 2014, they re-emerged with Last of the Outlaws. ~ Robert Hicks, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Pandora Whiteboard Session: March 29, 2013

Comments

tootie2424
amazingly beautiful. railroad earth fills my world with joy and sunshine! Turn it on and turn it up!
These guys are pretty far out, I'm just now getting familiar with it, Pandora with more to add to the collection.
Love seeing these guys at the Spirit of Suwannee in Live Oak, FL (Magfest! !)! Can't wait for their return. Just saw them this past October for the 2nd or 3rd time and pointing towards Springfest in 1 month for Sam Bush!
RRE for the win. One of the best....
gtgptl
one of THE best live acts - big festival or small club. the guys are pros, and BRING IT every show.
dougpear
I was a big from good homes fan back in the day, saw RRE's first public show in 2001 and many since. Yes, I'm old.
Saw them at yesterday's Peach Festival they were best act there
Saw them in Seattle early July as warm up band for Robert Plant. Great music and performance.
Great show at the White Water Center in Charlotte NC!
The energy of a RRE show is like nothing else I've ever experienced. Go. See. This. Band.
I've only been to one conssert in 2006
shello396
if it ain't bluegrass, it's just a dern weed!
Grassroots fest!
if you're getting too much bluegrass on RRE station, try starting at Levon Helm
meredithwats o n
Absolutely awesome show at the Hangtown Halloween Ball.
check out me sneking to front stage @ FolkFest St Pete on my youtube channel waynesbrothe r
RRE killd it this weekend at harvest fest.. wish i was back watchn RRE melt my face
Just saw RRE in Columbia, MO. last weekend at the Roots 'n Blues Festival. They blew the crowd away. Great music. Great weekend. Los Lobos; Dr. Ralph Stanley; Robert Crais; Robert Randolph Family Band. Reverend Peyton and the Big Damn Band...
rrem1718
I agree with Zyriuss1...t o o much traditional bluegrass and not enough RRE on the "Railroad Earth" station. I guess that's what happens when you try to compare other bands to RRE and put them in a particular genre...can' t be done! They are much too an original sound.
Just heard ya'll are coming back to va/tn rhythm and roots fest in sept. That calls for a big yeeee haaaa!
Also, where is the new album?? Why is that not getting played??
Am I the only one having a difficult time with the Railroad Earth Radio station. They are my favorite band and every time I listen it seems like all they play is freakin' bluegrass!! Arghh!! I hear some Avett Bros and Old Crow, that's cool. But the bluegrass is killing me!!! I can only do a thumbs down so many times!!
Yeah Railroad Earth! One of my all time favorite bands to listen to at home and live.
northwoodsel e c t r i c
saw them at Snoe. Down in Vermont! Stole the show from Moe., in my eyes. Friends who didn't know what expect danced their asses off!
Love that earthy sound
lovin' you, Railroad Earth!
can't...stop . . . . l i s t e n i n g . . . . t o . . . . R E . . . . ! ! ! ! !
adjustagrill
Saw this band outside at the Canyons Ski Resort Park City Utah FREE concert provided by the Canyons!!! They where great, a must see when in town kind of band. There are some cool things in Utah
johndziewior
this band is magical to the ears on cd but awe-inspirin g to the feet live! RE has achieved greatness!!!
the things in life that get you smiling like a budda are the same things that let you know that you are loved!
My friend Andrew Altman now plays with this group. Good stuff!!
We've been hearing these guys at Magnolia in Florida for the past few years - fabulous musicianship and energy - very good. My only issue is their singer, Sheaffer I believe, his voice is a bit too...well.. . f e m i n i n e sometimes. No matter, we still enjoy their shows, which is always the best way to hear a good band.
tcierpik
These guys are a real breath of fresh air!!! I caught them last year in Connectictut not knowing who I was going to see and wow!!! Fantastic musicianship and great to dance to. Just caught two shows in Boston's Paradise Theater... Worth travelin to go see they are that good!!!
My friend and I are so excited that you're playing at the Mile High Music Festival in Denver!!! We just bought our tickets today...see you in July!!
Hobos forever. Best fusion of bluegrass and country rock. Helps fill the void left by the old Poco, Eagles (when they were good) and Flying Burrlto Bros. I travel to see RRE. You should too.
lisare10
if anyone has a chance to see RRE live, you better wear your dancin' shoes. They are great!!!
The best band EVER! I LOVE RRE! They are my favorite band, EVER!
Where the heck is the rest of their beautiful music?!!
Check out their website for free downloads of live shows. Follow the prompts. Long live Hobo nation!
Need to get current and include Amen Corner.
erdiller
I miss the From Good Homes days for Todd, but Railroad Earth is a great second coming for him. Long Live Jersey Rock!!
ejwilk
You need the include the other albums by this band on this site. The Black Bear Sessions is an essential album if you're a fan.
All Good Festival 2008! Can't wait to see you!
The instrumental skill and passion of this band is impressive and uplifting. I liked what I heard when I sampled some music from the Railroad Earth website (an entertaining and artistic experience in and of itself), but I absolutely fell in love when I read the interview there posted and listened to the song Storms. From the first couple of measures, Storms had me smiling. I didn't stop long after I finally stopped replaying the song.
bigsterling0 7
Can't wait to see these guys at Bama Jam !
One of the best live bands out there right now. So much energy and such great harmonies... I hope these guys continue to grow.

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