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Railroad Earth

Amen Corner – 2008 (Sci-Fidelity)

Reviewed by C. Eric Banister

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CDs by Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth occupies that blue-gray area between bluegrass, country and rock 'n' roll while merging smoothly with the genre tagged "jam bands." The music on their fourth studio album provides the listener with all the variety they could ask for from such a band. While the music moves fluidly between the bluegrass-tinged jam Bringin' My Baby Back Home to the soul infused, banjo-powered groove of Hard Livin' to the acoustic balladry of All Alone the themes remain fairly consistent throughout - love, redemption and world-worn spirituality.

But it's not all deep thought. Lonecroft Ramble, an instrumental written by mandolin player John Skehan proves the band are formidable pickers. Crossing The Gap falls into the neo-bluegrass category as Skehans' mandolin drives the band through the song about the journey of life.

Lead singer and principle songwriter Todd Sheaffer possesses a lived in voice that brings to mind the timbre and phrasing of Rodney Crowell and songs like Waggin' The Dog hint at the band's Grateful Dead influence all mixing together to create an enjoyable album.