Railroad Earth Sherman Theater 11/27/09
02 Saddle of the Sun
03 Bird in a House
04 The Forecast
05 Bread and Water
07 Lordy, Lordy
08 Reuben’s Train
09 Hard Livin’ *
01 Peace on Earth
02 Mighty River –>
03 Like a Buddha
04 Black Bear
05 Been Down This Road
08 Fisherman’s Blues
09 Crossing the Gap
10 Little Rabbit
11 Encore break
12 Lovin’ You
13 My Sisters and Brothers
This show was off to the races from the start. I put in a request for this tune among a few others, and wether it was because I requested them or not, it was still an amazing setlist. Carey counts off, the band all starts off together, Skehan, Andy and Timmy are the first to change to another note, signifying “420”. Being right up front riding the rail I could tell you everyone was dancing as always. I was taking video, happy as could be, but still dancing as “420” often does. This is a John Skehan tune so of course Skehan made the song display is mandolin shredding, which takes up 80 percent of the song. All of the band gets there solos in, (not including Grubb and Carey, the rythym section is there keeping the jams together.)
Up next is “Saddle of the Sun”, probably one of the top Railroad Earth songs, in many peoples opinion… The song is another groove tune, can’t remember if I filmed it, I know I was dancing along with all my hobo friends… Timmy and Todd sort of dual for lead vocals on some parts, and that shows Timmys voice is very useful in the band, as well as vocally strong. Todd takes some really nice lick oppurtunities towards the end. Up next, “Bird In A House”, which I actually requested with the Grateful Deads “Bird Song” as a song it goes into because of the “Bird Song” teases in “Bird In A House”. Everyone in the crowd seemed to know this one, and loved to just move to the hypnotic ryhtym, and let Todds voice take you to new elevations. Timmy seems to impact the song greatly, because his fiddle is just on fire for this song especially. I remember being with my great friends who I met threw the band, everyone howling out the lyrics, while Todd seemed like he was joining in our fun while still putting on a top notch performance. While the vocal jams go on, John is shredding away on his mandolin, then the music stops, and the harmonies of Timmy, Todd and Carey come together.
We were in for a treat from the start because Andy comes in with the “Forecast” guitar intro, which then leads to the whole band creating this psychedelic vibe, along with the AMAZING lights show from Alex. If your a psychadelic freak, and love bluegrass instruments not playing ANYTHING like bluegrass, this song is for you. You feel like your no longer at a concert dancing to jigs, you feel like your at a place that is giving you never ending chills, with jams most bands can’t accomplish. The band goes from a semi intense jam that is just something you are like WOW after the 5 minute of continuous jam, but it builds into a monstrosity of intensity that you can’t seem to handle, but goes back to a jazzy vibe right after the climax.
A nice upbeat “shuffle”-sing along, “Bread and Water” starts off with Andy pickin away at the banjo, the band is off, Todd comes in with the lyrics, and everyones either dancing, singing a long, or doing both.
Next a Skehan/Andy a driven song – “Chains” that is a quick but singalong tune.
Next is Reubens Train, a very move-your-body and amazing song. Todd tells the story, while the rest of the band tears it up, then Todd shows up everyone by pulling out this guitar line that we didn’t know Todd was capable of sometimes. I just stopped dancing and looked up at Todd shredding his face off.
Next they bring on another Sax player, we have a Tri-Sax-Fecta. This makes for an amazing version of the Amen Corner tune Hard Livin. Timmy plays the electric guitar, and Grubb gets into a really funky groove while he shreds. The army of horns make the tune produce such a down and dirty sound.
Next is Peace on Earth, which is a song I get at pretty much every show I go to, and then turned into Mighty River. Mighty River was probably one of the best versions of the song I’ve ever heard, with Grubb getting funky, and creative with the bassline, Skehan getting technical, Timmy shaking away on the Shaker, and Todd feeling the groove, as was John, Andy, and Carey, producing a very fun, upbeat, jam that the crowd couldn’t get enough of. The crowd knew this tune, and felt more than happy to sing a long with Todd and let loose if they hadn’t done so already. I also want to note, that the band sounded very tight, and comfortable here, as they usually do, but even more so here, they felt as if they trusted each other musically, and didn’t mind who took control, because they were in sync, completely.
Here’s a video I took of Peace On Earth>Mighty River Parts 1 & 2:
When the catch part of Mighty River is supposed to repeat, the band then goes into a spacey jam, that resembles the Smilin Like A Buddha intro, and alas; it is. Definitely the best original Railroad Earth songs, with its jams, this version updates the classic tune that they have been doing for 9 years, rather, it morphs it into psychedelic territory. Andy pulls out the flute, and everyone gets rowdy, because they know it’s time for Mr. Andy Goessling to blow their face off. This song took me by storm, and gave me chills all throughout, as well as feelings that are unexplainable, and for that, I thank Railroad Earth!
Afterwards, we get a rarity, Black Bear, a slow, and chill, but still jammy, tune, that the band has been doing since the beginning. Grubb rips this songs to pieces, and Todd vocals are as pleasant as anyones on this song. The story, playing, and musicianship, demonstrated when they played this song, was very impressive for anyone who was new to Railroad Earth. Johnny Grubb has his fun with his bass solo, and made it even harder to see him go.
We get a classic off of Amen Corner called “Been Down This Road” next, which demonstrates Todd Sheaffers song writing very accordingly. The story is pretty much coming to the realization that you are going down the wrong road, as you have seen someone/you have gone down it before…
Afterwords “Elko” starts off, and everyone on the floor was dancing away to the music of the best band on this blue Earth; Railroad Earth. Everyone in the band was strong, especially Timmy, Skehan, Andy, and Grubb. They all brought their “A” game on Elko. Which was one of my many personal highlights.
Following “Elko” was “1759” a John Skehan tune, which incorporates one of Johns new equipped instrument, the irish Bozouki, which John uses on Right In Tune, and 1759, and produces this dark, bold, rich sound, especially in the 1759 Intro. The intensity this instrument produces leaves you in awe when John plays it. Andy takes on the mandolin, and throws some impressive mando-licks, in the process… Todd takes a few solos, and it was just all jams, back and forth, all of the musicians on top of their game, letting loose, (what could be more enjoyable?)
Here’s a video I took of “1759”
Then, my favorite song of the night, “Fisherman Blues” I was screaming the words, because I just love this catchy tune so much, and was so happy that I finally got to catch it. Todds voice gives you chills because it fits this song so perfectly, and the whole vibe to the song just makes you want to dance your ass off. Nonetheless, its also a song to take the time to REALLY listen to, but you can’t help but to dance. Next came “Little Rabbit” a song that usually notes that it’s the end of the show, a classic bluegrass/picking song, and Tim Carbone showed everyone else in the band why he’s the king of the fiddle.
Then the encore break, and everyone was on their feet screaming, They came on, and did a very emotional song; “Lovin You” off of Amen Corner. Very cool, everyone was swaying, some couples were holding hands and slow dancing together, shows what vibes this band can bring.
Afterwords, one of the best version I have ever heard Railroad Earth do of “My Brothers and Sisters” a old Jerry Garcia band song, where Grubb keeps the underlying rhythm, and the rest of the band layers on top of one another.
This was a great show, to say the least. One of my favorites! Great times had by all!!!