Railroad Earth plays 8150 Thursday night

Daily Staff Report

VAIL – Rising out of a state perhaps better known for its mobsters than its music, Railroad Earth just may surprise you with a trademark fusion of bluegrass, rock, jazz and folk. From the foothills of the Kittatinny Mountains in the melting pot that is New Jersey, Railroad Earth is coming to a 8150 Thursday night at 10.

Railroad Earth’s Spring 2005 tour has already seen record crowds, and the band’s impressive and steady growth shows no signs of stopping. Recently they have made a huge splash in the San Francisco music scene. In December 2004, violin player Tim Carbone and mandolinist John Skehan joined Phil Lesh and Friends for his three-night run at the Warfield Theater. Phil had become so enamored with Railroad Earth’s music that he went on to invite the entire band to return to San Francisco to join Phil Lesh and Friends’ Mardi Gras performance at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Feb. 12. Earlier in the day Lesh had asked Railroad Earth to headline a performance for the Unbroken Chain Foundation, to benefit Tsunami Relief efforts. Phil Lesh was featured on stage with the band for a portion of the show, which ultimately raised $50,000 for relief efforts and gave the sold out crowd one hell of a show. “A true incarnation of American roots music, Railroad Earth has an instantly classic sound which, along with their heartfelt lyrics, never fails to find its way straight to your soul. Lead songwriter/vocalist Todd Sheaffer and Co. will move you with an effortless spirituality, which has helped the band become one of the most widely discussed to grace stages around the country,” said the band’s management.

Just three weeks after the members of Railroad Earth played together for the very first time, in a 200-year old barn in Western, N.J., they went into a local recording studio and laid down a five-song demo, live with no overdubs except for backing vocals. Based on that demo’s strength and remarkable sound, Railroad Earth landed a slot at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival before they had even played their first gig. Telluride would end up being their tenth performance in front of an audience. 2001’s “The Black Bear Sessions” was born straight from this same demo, and the album’s clean and honest sound helped to make it one of Relix Magazine’s top 20 albums of that year. It also got the band a record deal with Sugar Hill Records, home to such prestigious names as Nickel Creek and Dolly Parton. For more information on Railroad Earth, log on to

Vail, Colorado

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