It’s hard to pin down Railroad Earth’s style — jam band? Bluegrass? Blues? Folk?
The answer is D) All of the above. And everything in between. Here’s the group playing Bonnaroo in 2011.
The New Jersey band carefully toes the line of an “improv band” stigma, which can curse a band to a singularly particular type of audience. Instead, Glide Magazine writes Railroad Earth has also established their studio abilities are as strong as their stage presence. The band is known just as much for its recording prowess as its unique and engrossing live performances.
Best of both worlds? Yeah. Exactly.
On its current tour, the group slowly leaked songs from its newly released latest album, Last of the Outlaws. A couple new songs were tossed into each set leading up to last weekend’s concerts in Denver — the release parties. Between the two nights, the band released a horde of new material from their seventh album.
One track on Outlaws is getting quite a bit of attention. And by “track,” we actually meant to say “full, 21-minute, 7-part suite.”
“All That’s Dead May Live Again” is supposedly the crux of masterful musicians Todd Sheaffer, guitarist, and John Skehan, classical-pianist-turned-manodlin-player, coming together for so long.
Bassist Andrew Altman told the Herald Review how the piece came about: “John was carrying the framework of the idea around on a piece of paper in his wallet for like two years, and he would bring it out whenever we were drinking. You can hear his classical influences in it, because he was playing classical piano long before mandolin. We’re not shying away from that side of us.”
For inspirational listening, here’s a video of Todd and John playing together back in 2006.
“All That’s Dead” plays on everything from classic rock to classical piano, from bluegrass to Celtic music, according to the the Herald Review. The band still isn’t sure how it will handle the piece live — break it up and piece it together with other songs or play it full out, in all of its 21-minute glory.