Railroad Earth Bust Out Fan Favorites In Austin (SHOW REVIEW/PHOTOS)

Railroad Earth came through Austin on a chilly Saturday with the sole purpose of using their music to bring smiles to the faces of those who had gathered at Stubb’s for their show. Nearly three hours of music over the course of two sets would find the jamgrass band successful in stirring up both smiles and dancing from their audience.

Getting the night going was Austin group Wood & Wire, who have been making a name for themselves in recent years as one of the premier young bluegrass acts around. The quartet played a tight set of traditional bluegrass complete with locked in harmonies and expert picking, getting praise from their local supporters and making fans out of anyone who had never seen them. Shortly after, the members of Railroad Earth took the stage and wasted no time jumping into “Elko”, a song with a rolling drum beat and joyful fiddle that set the mood for the good times that would follow. Earth would bring some of their most well-known and beloved songs into the first set, including a stirring “Mighty River”, a psychedelic version of “1759” that saw the band playing an extended intro reminiscent of the Velvet Underground’s haunting “Venus In Furs”, and “Bird In A House” to close the set.

Spirits were high and only rose higher when Railroad Earth returned for a second set and got things going with “Happy Song”, an upbeat romper that always lives up to its name and beckons the audience to join in on the festivities it speaks of. If there was one factor that elevated the second set it was the band’s expansive, grandiose instrumental jams. Each song seemed to propel the band higher, and the instrumental bluegrass stylings were complemented by Earth’s ability to convey a warm, rustic feeling of an older, simpler America. Maybe it’s the New Jersey roots and by default Springsteen connection, but Earth know how to conjure nostalgia for small town roots forgotten history, as could be heard when they closed out their set with “Hard Livin’”, only to perfectly follow it up with an encore of “Long Way To Go”. It also came in the especially poignant tale of American railroads in “The Jupiter and the 119”. The midnight curfew eventually cut the band off, but there is no question that they would have played all night if possible and the merry band of revelers in attendance would have graciously embraced it.


January 23, 2016
Stubb’s BBQ
Austin, Texas

Support: Wood & Wire

Railroad Earth:

Set 1:

Old Dangerfield
When the Sun Gets in Your Blood
Mighty River
Long Walk Home
Drag Him Down
Bird in a House

Set 2:

Happy Song
Potter’s Field –>
Lone Croft Farewell
Crossing the Gap
Birds of America –>
Face with a Hole
The Jupiter and the 119
Hard Livin’


Long Way To Go

Photos by Arthur VanRooy.

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