Sunday, December 13, 2009

Railroad Earth & The Infamous Stringdusters

Friday the 11th we follow up with our commitment to Travis and ventured downtown to the Nightclub 9:30 to see The Infamous Stringdusters open for Railroad Earth. This was a wise decision, not only getting to see two great bands, but also since it would probably be the last time the Stringdusters routed through the area in a while - they have a left coast tour scheduled for early next year. The venue was packed when I arrived and the opening band looked at ease, but excited, to be playing for about two thousand people. For many of these in attendance, it was their first chance to hear the Stringdusters and from the rumblings I overheard - it was a positive first impression. Even Travis mentioned it seemed like a first date - ready to move on to that second glass of wine. And I just don't know how many times I can comment their style - solos - surrounded by the other players - duos - and also entire band together. They played some newer material this evening including "Good in the Kitchen" which I last heard recorded by Bearfoot - but they heard it from Danny Barnes. In any case, The Infamous Stringdusters are a fun band to watch.

I admit that I'm a relative newbie to the Railroad Earth train - having followed them for only 2 1/2 years after seeing them at FloydFest. But their latest CD, Amen Corner, is one of the best of 2009 - every song is a hit. But watching them live is where you can truly appreciate them as musical geniuses. Todd Sheaffer is the conductor, fronting most of the songs, playing a mean guitar himself, and subtly instructing the other band members when to take a solo. Tim Carbone is perhaps the most famous member - known as a violin virtuoso. My favorite part of the show is watching Andy Goessling play any number of instruments. By the end of the first set he had matched every one used by the Stringdusters save the Fiddle - and during the second set brought out the pennywhistle. Let's see; the guy can play the acoustic guitar, banjo, dobro, mandolin and didn't even bring out the sax or flute. Amazing. John Skehan on mandolin and Carey Harmon on percussion round out the band along with bassist Johnny Grubb - who is leaving the band after this year to spend more time with his family. He will be missed. Over two sets and into the early morning of the next day Railroad Earth showed why they may surpass the Allman Brothers as the heirs to the Grateful Dead crowd. Their were plenty of Dead Heads in attendance - as well as former hippies turned yuppies and a new contingent of youngsters. Could to see this generation appreciating quality music instead of the crap emitted by pop culture. It was also nice to see Andy Hall brought onstage to add his dobro skills to the sound. Wish I could travel north for the next two shows. Great show.

More photos are available at the MyJoog Gallery.

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