What kind of music does Railroad Earth play? Well, they really don’t care what you call it. They are just happy if you listen to their albums and buy Railroad Earth tickets. They originally came together as a bunch of musicians who just wanted to play acoustically. They started jamming and playing some original tunes. Soon, they realized they had something special going on.
Some will call them folk, or bluegrass, or even new grass. A lot of pundits like to use “Americana” and “roots” when describing their sound. Railroad Earth has nothing against any genre of music but they’ll tell you they’re not a bluegrass ensemble. On their Website, the group’s violinist, Tim Carbone, says they play “rock on acoustic instruments.” Another way to think of them is an acoustic Phish.
Dave Von Dollen
The original lineup had wanted to play together for a long time but it wasn’t until 2001 that they finally had a chance to jam. Before too long, the band had a 5-song demo recorded. Amazingly, on the strength of that demo alone, they landed a spot at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
They quickly cut another five songs so they would have an album to sell come festival time. That album was called the Black Bear Sessions.
The band is managed by Brian Ross. He has not only been instrumental in the band’s success but he named them as well. Ross borrowed “Railroad Earth” from the Jack Kerouac short story "October in the Railroad Earth." The band’s frontman, Todd Sheaffer, also wrote a song called “Railroad Earth.” You can find it on Black Bear Sessions.
Like any good jam band, Railroad Earth has a nickname for their fans. They are called Hobos.
By the way, the band hails from Stillwater, New Jersey.
The Black Bear (2001)
Bird In A House (2002)
The Good Life (2004)
Amen Corner (2008)
Railroad Earth (2010)
Last of the Outlaws (2014)