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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Railroad Earth

The Stiefel Theatre
Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe 9/16/2012

Railroad Earth . . . This band is one of those old school bands that just has that special feel to it.  The stage is set with big amps and speakers as well as a variety of lights and a fog machine that the band uses to their advantage.  The entire show harkens back to a time when showmanship and the overall look was as important as the music.

The members of the band are: Todd Sheaffer (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Tim Carbone (violin, vocals), John Skehan (mandolin, vocals), Andy Goessling (is there anything he can't play?), Carey Harmon (drums, percussion, vocals), and Andrew Altman (upright bass).  Todd Sheaffer is a powerhouse on vocals.  When he sang "Mighty River", the power and energy in his voice was un-believable.

This group began the show with "Potter's Field" which had a somber tone to the lyrics but was a high energy song that the band played with gusto.  The light show behind them moved, shifted, changed, and rearranged itself so that it looked like a lava light.  The music reflected an Irish influence as well as a Bluegrass feel.  The two styles blended perfectly together.

Some other stand out songs were: "Lovin" You", "The Good Life", "Chains" and "Cold Water".  This band sings songs of the earth, the spirits that surround us, love, loss, and the human experience.  I especially enjoyed the songs that were off of their CD entitled "The Black Bear Sessions".  "Cold Water" was one of the songs off that CD. These songs had an earthy, other-worldly quality to them.

The band played two sets which were both high energy and they truly gave all they had to the performance.  The audience managed to talk them into an encore.  The band played a new arrangement of  "Have A Little Faith" and it gave the song a totally different feel.  I think the saxophone had something to do with it.

If you like high energy, a beat you can dance to, solid lyrics, and feel good tunes, well, you have just got to check out this band. 

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