July 8, 2007
Words by Bill Whiting
Railroad Earth’s appearance at the Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky was highly anticipated due to the fact the band had not graced the area with their presence in a couple of years. Bounding onto the stage, the group lit into the opening track, "Storms," from the band’s release The Good Life with Andy Goessling playing the role of multi-instrumentalist on the side of the stage alongside Carey Harmon’s steady driving shuffle beat percussion.
The irony of playing on the banks of the mighty Ohio was not lost on the band as they switched gears with a take on "Mighty River" from the 2002 Sugar Hill records disc, Bird in the House. Todd Sheaffer’s smooth vocal delivery belied the strength and heavy tone of the song’s lyrical side. Also, to pay homage to the state of Kentucky, RRE launched into a swirling up tempo bluegrass take on "Bowling Green," with Tim Carbone’s shredding violin leads taking precedent over Johnny Grubb’s anchoring bass lines.
The standout moment on the warm July evening’s performance was a scintillating cover of The Band’s "Acadian Driftwood." Returning with a three song encore of "Elko," "Sing For Me," and "Ragtime Annie Lee," Railroad Earth put an indelible stamp on a driving gumbo of improvised bluegrass rock, and sent many happy Southgate patrons out into a star filled July night.