Railroad Earth is New Jersey’s greatest hope since The Boss | VailDaily.com

Railroad Earth is New Jersey’s greatest hope since The Boss

Mike Thomas

Railroad Earth “Elko”SCI FidelityPart bluegrass, part jam, with unmistakable Garcia and Grisman influences, Railroad Earth knows how to pick away to perfection and is capable and more than willing to lavishly build and peak a jam, sometimes pushing songs near the 20-minute mark. A double disc recorded live in spring 2005, “Elko” showcases what this band does best – play live – which is no secret to the many RRE fans, who have been won over by the septet’s dynamic sound and near seamless transitions from bluegrass to high-octane rock ‘n’ roll. While the influences of The Grateful Dead and traditional bluegrass in the vein of Bill Monroe are apparent, RRE’s originality and sound don’t just shine throughout the double disc, but glisten unlike any other band in its genre. RRE’s effortless merger of guitar, violin, mandolin and driving rhythms, either spinning out a beautiful melody or tearing into a lofty jam is staggering. It just so happens Railroad Earth could be New Jersey’s greatest hope since The Boss. Les Yeut Noirs”Tchorba”World Village MusicFusion can be a really bad thing, especially when it sounds so awful that you question why any human beings would actually step into a studio and record music that sounds like this. Les Yeut Noirs is a musical train wreck and “Tchorba” has to be one of the most blatantly overproduced accidents in recent history. It’s difficult to put into words how “Tchorba” sounds, but kind of like futuristic bluegrass, parlayed with some funk and traditional folk and Klezmer. Clicking and clacking its way to one of the worst sounds ever created, Les Yeut Noirs could scare away even the most open-minded of listeners with the title track alone, where the band’s most ambitious attempt reeks of a bad Mahavishnu Orchestra rip-off. Really the best thing to compare Les Yeut Noirs to would be the sounds of “Riverdance.” Other options would be taking the instrumental parts of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and loop in a cat’s meow over and over again; that would about do it. “Tchorba” – ridiculous CD insert and all – is so terrible, it truly is funny. Mike Thomas is a freelance writer based in the Vail Valley.Vail, Colorado

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