I (Amanda) had been looking forward to this past Friday’s show at the Cleveland HOB ever since Railroad Earth announced their tour dates. Having only seen them play a couple day-time festival sets, I have been waiting to see them as a weekend night headliner in my city for a while. Going in, I knew they were very talented and already loved their sound, but getting to see the intricacies of their stellar musicianship, stage presence and the fascinating versatility of some of the band members (up close too!) was truly incredible. Overall, it was a wonderful Friday with great friends and outstanding music.
Unfortunately, we missed the opener, Syrup, due to everyone’s busy schedules. However, we heard a teeny snippet through the crack of the door while we were picking up our tickets and as little as it was, it sounded pretty good. It turns out they’re a local bluegrass band so we will definitely be checking them out in the future.
Railroad Earth‘s stage set up was absolutely perfect for this show. The beautiful, color-changing lanterns and tapestries provided a wonderful backdrop to enjoy while taking in broader views of the stage and without question enhanced the entire vibe of the show.
While there were a couple of songs I was hoping for that they didn’t play, I was still pleased with the set list and thought it was very balanced overall. Each and every member of the band played and sang exceptionally well and that RRE soul you (…or, at least I) expect from them definitely came through on every song.
I personally LOVE Todd Sheaffer’s songwriting and vocals. It was great to finally experience them in a more intimate setting. My friends and I were in complete awe (no, that’s not an overstatement) of Andy Goessling. He proficiently played a multitude of different instruments (banjo, slide guitar, sax to name a few) throughout the concert and was on point during every single jam and solo.
John Skehan and Tim Carbone are also extremely impressive musicians. John played a mean mandolin as usual, but pleasantly surprised us when he broke out the Bouzouki and got behind the keys at the end of the second set too. Tim is a fabulous fiddle/violin (AND electric guitar) player and has a fantastic, unmatchable energy as well that was clearly present on Friday. Last, but DEFINITELY not least, Carey Harmon and Andrew Altman are also very talented and laid down solid beats, baselines, and rhythms throughout both sets.
Here are a few short and long clips I took throughout the show. Unfortunately, my iPhone decided to act a little funky and cut off my filming unexpectedly on some songs. However, I managed to get some decent footage:
I hope you dig what you hear and check them out if you get the chance. They are truly outstanding musicians, put on a great show and seem to appeal to a broad audience. My fellow bluegrass junkies love them, I know a handful of roots-rock/folk/americana fans that feel the same way, and even some of my friends that listen to mostly mainstream country enjoy their tunes as well. Their unique, soulful, and talent-filled grooves are natural mood enhancers. Hopefully, we’ll be catching them live again soon.
Yet again, it was too difficult to coordinate a fitting pre-show grub experience, but let’s hear what you think on the fooding front: What dish or restaurant would you pair with Railroad Earth’s sound?