October 22, 2008
Railroad Earth rolled into Newport, Kentucky’s Southgate House on October 22 with a new recording, Amen Corner, and a handful of old standbys that were aimed to please the huge throng that gathered for the show.
"The Good Life" got RRE’s wheels spinning as the rhythm section of Carey Harmon on drums and Johnny Grubb on bass set a lively, high stepping tone that had the patrons in front of the stage bobbing their heads in perfect synchronization. "Saddle of the Sun," from 2002’s Bird in a House, was fleshed out by front man Todd Sheaffer’s pristine vocals and contributions on guitar.
From there, the bluegrass orchestra dabbled in their recent disc, and out popped two of Amen Corner‘s sparkling gems, "Little Bit O’ Me" and "Right in Tune," augmented by the fiddle playing flair of the multi-talented Tim Carbone and striking mandolin touches of John Skehan. Railroad Earth concerts are well known for their precise use of amplification, and the Southgate House became a church of modulation as they finished the first set with "Like a Buddha."
Starting the second set with "Bird in a House," the enormous contribution that Andy Goessling makes to RRE’s sonic experience became apparent, as he was able to handle a variety of instruments within a short span of time. "Been Down This Road" followed, and Sheaffer’s twinkling smile grew infectious as RRE’s performance picked up the pace. "Lonecroft Ramble" moved along briskly, and a tribute to the Southgate’s waterway positioning was explored on "Mighty River."
But, many in the crowd were begging for a tune from the band’s debut, The Black Bear Sessions, and they were treated to an epic version of "Head." With that, Railroad Earth quietly walked offstage to an enormous ovation that soon brought them back to entertain with the one-two punch encore of "Came Up Smilin’" and "Crossing the Gap," just the right elixir to send the Southgate’s denizens home full of happy Railroad Earth memories.
Encore: Came Up Smilin’ , Crossing the Gap