Since their first appearance at High Sierra in 2005, Railroad Earth have become a festival favorite, so much so, that they launched their own inaugural festival, Railroad Earth’s Halloween Hangtown Ball in the Tahoe area last year.
They return to Quincy for the sixth time bringing their rootsy,
Americana based newgrass sound -- one that has keenly developed into a sophisticated, yet down-to-earth singular sound from more than a decade's worth of touring together. It's acoustic based, with roots in bluegrass and other cultures (celtic, cajun, Appalachia) yet packs the oomph of rock'n'roll courtesy of drummer Carey Harmon. What makes Railroad Earth so outstanding is their songs and the fact that all six guys can sing, which adds depth and versatility to the mix. And all six -- from guitarist/lead vocalist/main songwriter Todd Sheaffer, to multi-instrumentalists Andy Goessling (acoustic guitar, banjo, dobro, flute, sax) Tim Carbone (violin, accordion, electric guitar) and John Skehan (mandolin and bouzouki) to bassist Andy Altman and drummer Carey Harmon are top-notch players. And while Railroad Earth's music is driven by the remarkable songs of front-man Sheaffer, delivered with seamless arrangements and superb musicianship, the band can also stretch out and jam. As John Skehan points out, "Our M.O. has always been that we can improvise all day long, but we only do it in service to the song. There are a lot of songs that, when we play them live, we adhere to the arrangement from the record. And other songs, in the nature and the spirit of the song, everyone knows we can kind of take flight on them." Sheaffer continues: "The songs are our focus, our focal point, they give the improvisation a starting point. The jams sort of 'comment' on the songs, and give them color. You can be sure there will be plenty of that color during Railroad Earth’s two performances at this year’s High Sierra.