Railroad Earth just wrapped up a stellar tour-opening weekend with three unforgettable shows in Atlanta and Asheville, followed by support for Tedeschi Trucks Band in Augusta, Georgia. The band is gearing up for a rocking tour to come, especially with recent opener announcements. The Poke Around was right there for it all, experiencing first hand the unique blend of talent and personality that makes them one of the most sought after jamgrass bands around.
The tour began last Thursday with a two-night run at the esteemed Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. The first show was a jubilant affair, starting out with “When the Sun Gets in Your Blood” to establish a feel-good atmosphere for the rest of the show as Todd Sheaffer “Came Up Smilin” towards the middle and drove the set home with the crowd-favorite “Been Down This Road.” The second set featured “Farewell to Isinglass” for only the third time in history, which morphed into “Mighty River” with a fresh segue in between. Sheaffer delivered an extremely passionate vocal performance with “Jupiter and the 119”, transporting the audience to a time of hope and opportunity in the way that only the very best songwriters can do. Bassist Andrew Altman had the place rocking for an extensively improvised “I am a Mess” to close out the second set. Much to delight of the screaming crowd, the boys came out with the encore “Long Way To Go” aptly selected for those that were lucky enough to have more track left on the tour.
With the Variety Playhouse selling out by early afternoon, Railroad Earth knew exactly what they were getting themselves into on night two, and dove right in. Starting with the instrumental jam “420” followed by a dreamy sequence of “Like a Buddha” into “Chasin’ a Rainbow”. Set two started with “Dandelion Wine” and “The Forecast”, sending the crowd into a frenzy of laughter and smiles for the rest of the show. To bring the party to an end they chose “One More Night on the Road” then busted out The Allman Brothers classic “Hot ’Lanta” which was a huge hit with the hometown crowd. A short but sweet version of one of the band’s first originals “Railroad Earth” was a triumphant encore for an outstanding run.
Ever since the epic three-night New Years run in 2013, Asheville has been craving some Railroad Earth in their town. The Orange Peel was more packed than in recent memory, with the show completely sold out days in advance. The timeless classic “Mighty River” was an appropriate opener, giving the thirsty masses exactly what they had come for right off the bat, and they drank it up. With energy levels sky high, the time was ripe to get lost in a jig with the “Magic Foot>Luxury Liner” suite. The heartfelt but silly “The Butterfly and the Tree” was a fun way to keep things moving into an eventual “Fisherman’s Blues” that had people ready for a breather before the second-set shenanigans got under way.
Multi-instrumentalist Andy Goessling hit the ground running after the break, wielding double saxophones for a downright rowdy version of “Donkey for Sale”. The Railroad staple “Elko” and Irish influenced “Daddy-O” got people stomping up such a storm, it’s a wonder we didn’t end up in the basement when it was all said and done. Tim Carbone delivered one blazing fiddle solo after another to the utter delight of the crowd that had come to get down and dirty. It all came soaring to a peak with “Warhead Boogie” where Carbone continued to take charge, leading the crowd into an exhilarating dance party. The audience loved the majestic “Grandfather Mountain”, a Sheaffer-penned masterpiece about the storied mountain only 90 minutes from Asheville, where Railroad Earth used to play a well-loved but short-lived festival called Music on the Mountaintop. “Peace on Earth” made for an euphoric encore that had both band and audience walking out with stars in their eyes and smiles on their faces.
After a quick trip down to Birmingham, Railroad Earth opened up for Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia. This was only a 60-minute set, yet it still packed quite a punch, especially the lively “Dance Around Molly” into “Dandelion Wine.”
In other exciting news, Railroad Earth just announced opening acts Bill Nershi (The String Cheese Incident), The Werks, and Scott Pemberton all in support of various Febuary dates. This is in addition to Town Mountain, Wood & Wire, and Cornmeal who have already been announced. See full tour details below.
Written by Richard Oakley
1/20 Tuscaloosa, AL Druid City Music Hall w/special guests Town Mountain
1/21 Houston, TX House Of Blues w/special guests Wood & Wire
1/22 Dallas, TX Granada Theatre w/special guests Wood & Wire
1/23 Austin, TX Stubb’s w/special guests Wood & Wire
1/26 Fayetteville, AR George’s Majestic
1/27 Memphis, TN New Daisy
1/28 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge
1/29 Indianapolis, IN Vogue w/special guests Cornmeal
1/30 St. Louis, MO The Pageant w/special guests Cornmeal
2/12 Denver, CO Fillmore Auditorium w/special guest Bill Nershi
2/13 Denver, CO Fillmore Auditorium w/special guest The Werks
2/14 Aspen, CO Belly Up
2/15 Aspen, CO Belly Up
2/17 Billings, MT Babcock Theater w/special guest Scott Pemberton
2/18 Missoula, MT Wilma Theatre w/special guest Scott Pemberton
2/19 Bozeman, MT Emerson Center w/special guest Scott Pemberton
2/20 Park City, UT Eccles Center w/special guest Scott Pemberton
2/22 Jackson, WY Pink Garter Theatre
2/24 Bend, OR Domino Room
2/25 Seattle, WA Neptune Theatre w/special guest Scott Pemberton
2/26 Portland, OR Revolution Hall w/special guest Scott Pemberton
2/27 Portland, OR Revolution Hall w/special guest Scott Pemberton
3/5 New York, NY PlayStation Theatre
3/10 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer
3/11 Washington DC 9:30 Club
3/12 Washington DC 9:30 Club
Tickets can be purchased at railroadearth.com