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Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth – 2010 (One Haven)

Reviewed by Andrew W. Griffin

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CDs by Railroad Earth

With each spin of Railroad Earth's self-titled album, the band becomes more impressive with each melody, every harmony and a rootsy sound that sounds engaging and effortless. As fans of Americana, folk-rock and bluegrass-inspired jam-pop, Railroad Earth is a talented band now entering its 10th year, and a band that appreciates incorporating different sounds and styles and melding it into their own, distinctive style.

The sextet kicks off with Long Walk Home, a track that sounds more like a delightful stroll, something pleasurable, as noted in singer Todd Shaeffer's vocal delivery. The plucking of violin strings during the opening of the strangely infectious The Jupiter and The 119 don't foretell what is to come in the song, which is a delightful story/song about the Transcontinental Railroad that clocks in at nearly eight minutes.

The spooky passion on Black Elk Speaks is palpable while Lone Croft Farewell has a bittersweet quality that draws you into its lyrical and acoustic beauty.

Some may argue that the increased use of electric guitars and more accessible sound is making it RE sound more commercial, kind of like what they're saying about Yonder Mountain String Band these days, but listen to the Jerry Garcia-inspired licks on Spring-Heeled Jack that is buoyed by some nice fiddle and mandolin interplay.

As they have proved over the past decade, Railroad Earth is a band coming into its own, stronger and better.