On Thursday March 14th, Railroad Earth, a New Jersey based bluegrass unit played at The Town Ballroom in Buffalo. I could feel the anticipation growing as we all waited for the show to start. As the band took the stage, the audience was greeted with smiles as the atmosphere in the room felt like a weight had been lifted. Although these guys only started playing in 2001, (aside from bassist Andrew Altman, originally of the Codetalkers, who joined in 2010) it seemed like they had all been together for 30 years. The way in which they are able to walk in and out of a song and bring it back like they had never stepped away was quite a sight to be seen.
The first set was filled with some great songs, starting off with a stunning performance of “Storms,” the leading track off of their The Good Life album. Both “Elko” and “The Cuckoo” stretched out over 8 minutes long each and were exceptional songs. After this segment came the Hank Ballard tune, “Tore Up Over You”, made famous by the Jerry Garcia Band. At this great moment in the show and you could see the band had the crowd’s attention. “Crossing The Gap” and “Bringin’ My Baby Back Home” ended the first set, from which the band gave a nice taste of it all, creating a groove in which anyone could get in to.
Set two opened with “Seven Story Mountain,” off The Black Bear Sessions, a song that my fiance and I adore. Not only was this one of the best versions I have heard, it was packed with some amazing intermingling between the members. Shortly after they ended the song we were treated to another two great choices off of the same album,”Chains” and “Lordy, Lordy.” Both of these songs are awesome in their own right, but the lyrics of “Chains” are a poetic masterpiece. “Head”, the opening song off of The Black Bear Sessions, came later in the set and was over sixteen minutes of pure bliss. Ending the set was a great rendition of the classic spiritual hymn “Wayfaring Stranger” and a phenomenal version of the newer Railroad Earth original “Hard Living.” The encore came and the bad played “I Ain’t Got No Home.”It was truly an amazing night where wonderful memories were made.