Railroad Earth rode into Boston last Saturday night, delighting the sold out crowd at the Paradise Rock Club with their laid-back mix of bluegrass and jam-rock.
Playing a collection of their older material mixed in with some songs off their 2008 album Amen Corner, the band combined impressive songwriting with stomping, danceable rhythms that engaged the crowd, even those who did not know their music beforehand.
As a relative newcomer to Railroad Earth’s music, the show was a pleasant surprise, as the band continually showcased just why they have such a loyal following of fans that style themselves “Hobos.” Songs such as “Lordy, Lordy” and “The Forecast” showcased the talents of violinist Tim Carbone and multi-instrumentalist Andy Goessling, who switched back and forth between the mandolin and acoustic guitar. “The Forecast” especially showed the two playing dovetailing riffs that brought a warm coherence to the song in the middle of a lengthy jam.
First set closer “Peace On Earth” as well as “The Happy Song” helped to illustrate the optimistic and carefree vibe that the band brought to the venue, a mood similar to the laidback atmosphere that permeates the live recordings of the Grateful Dead.
Singer and guitarist Todd Sheaffer epitomized this light-hearted mood, smiling throughout the two sets and bantering occasionally with the crowd, while drummer Carey Harmon was inspiring to watch, playing with his eyes closed for the entire show and seemingly having the time of his life.
Show opener “Been Down This Road” and show closer “Hard Livin,” which featured Goessling sporting two saxophones simultaneously, are both found on the band’s newest release, which Jambase.com called their “most complete, coherent record” to date. And, if the show at the Paradise is anything to go by, Amen Corner is a must-have for anyone looking to get into one of the best touring bands around.