Railroad Earth 2006-6-3

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Railroad Earth 2006-6-3 Blue Plum Festival Johnson City, TN (Download)

There are lots of reasons why I love living in New England and Massachusetts: The endless history, the fact that the mountains, the ocean, and a number of culturally rich cities are within an hour or two from where I sit right now, and our sports teams of course...!

One of the things I love most is our diverse seasons. In the span of 12 months, most of New England goes from 95 degree highs to -10 degree lows, and back again. There are four distinct seasons and I have fond memories attached to each of them. I think this leads to an appreciation of both the first warm spring day and the first crisp fall afternoon, to both the 24" blizzard and the wicked summer night's thunderstorm. In short, I think we hold an awareness and a wonderment associated with our meteorological surroundings that people in other parts of the country (I'm looking at you, L.A.) don't always have the fortune to experience...

Sunny and 75 AGAIN?!? No thank you.

One result of these drastic seasons is of course dreaming of one while in the midst of another, and during these bitter winter months my thoughts do turn longingly to lazy outdoor summer experiences. At the moment, my mind has me sitting in a lawnchair, barefoot with my toes in the deep green grass, sipping a cold one and listening to some great live music. The band for this post has it well represented.

Railroad Earth is a band I actually have never seen live, I was turned on to them via the nugs.net live music podcast and I've spend a lot of time with their live sets since then. They're out of Sparta, New Jersey and they have been laying down a roots/bluegrass/celtic style all their own for several years now.

(Guitarist Todd Sheaffer) "I’m excited about the possibilities musically. I’ve really been learning a lot, first of all. We’ve talked a lot about the lyrics, but musically there’s been a lot of interesting stuff going on. I’ve learned a lot from the guys in the group and its exciting to me the wide diversity of areas we can explore. I’m practicing a lot on the guitar, more than I have in a long time, trying to expand my musical vocabulary. I’m trying to learn a little bit and get a little better as a soloist. Even trying a little flat picking, but trying to keep it within my own style. I’m really interested in trying to grow as a musician in not just the songwriting but in the playing. A lot of times as the front man, the singer, I’ve had a tendency to say, “You take the solo,” or, “you guys do the musical stuff.” But I’m trying to also throw myself into the mix a lot more."
In this particular show, Railroad Earth takes on the Blue Plum Festival in Johnson City, TN. It's a great set and a great recording which really captures the open air and rowdiness of a good ole' Southern outdoor music fest. Of particular note for me are "Shining Like a Buddah" and "Water Fountain Quicksand", as well as the track that originally captured my interest in the band, "Long Way to Go". A special treat of this show is the freight train ripping right through the recording during both "Old Man and the Land" and "Head". Some people might see this as a detriment, but I think that it really sets a mood for the whole taping. Along with the noise of an engaged crowd and the acoustics of the open air show, it will transport you right to that day in Johnson City.

Often the greatest asset of a live recording is this peripheral activity, this is the very reason why we listen to live shows instead of just collecting studio records.

On to the full set...
intro, dandelion wine, 420, bird in a house, smilin' like a buddah, old man and the land, mission man, peace on earth, head, railroad earth, water fountain quicksand, long way to go, (encore) ragtime annie lee
Sound Quality is an A-, it would be a B+ except for capturing a lively crowd and those freight trains...! Taping credit to David Randle, thanks David! Remember to download these shows at their highest availably quality! Photo credit.

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