Railroad Earth Heats Up Charlotte On A Cold, Wintry Night
Winter Tour 2020 Makes A Stop At The Fillmore
It just so happened that the Charlotte area would experience its first real bout of wintry weather of the year on the night Railroad Earth was in town. I was anxiously watching the weather unfold and hoping that the show would not be canceled. I am happy to report that, as they say in show business, the show must go on so I headed to one of my favorite venues in town, The Fillmore.
Although the weather wasn’t that bad, the interstate was eerily empty and as I made my way towards the AvidXChange Music Factory area things were looking pretty desolate. Once I made my way into the venue, the crowd looked very sparse indeed and I was hoping that fans would still be able to make it out to the show. My fears were unfounded because much like the United States Postal Service “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” could keep Railroad Earth fans away from the show and the Fillmore was filling up nicely.
The first to grace the stage was the dynamic folk duo Handmade Moments. The fearsome twosome of Anna Moss and Joel Ludford are a rare entity in today’s world of commercialized music bringing jangling folk tunes and soulful vibes as well as a unique array of instruments. Let’s just say when they hit the stage with Joel marching out with his tuba, they quickly grabbed everyone’s attention.
Moss and Ludford put on a heck of a show combining pure musical talent with witty repartee that had the audience in stitches as they regaled us with tales of their recent trip to Germany. Anna possesses a sultry voice full of soul and blew us away with her mad skills on the saxophone as well as the bass clarinet.
Their set was one of the most interesting and fun things I have experienced in a long time. The duo played some of their original tunes like “Phone Down,” as well as a variety of covers, including an acoustic version of Blondie’s “The Tide Is High” featuring Moss on vocals accompanied by only Ludford on the tuba. They say there’s a first time for everything and for a lot of people in the audience this proved to be true as they witnessed all that Handmade Moments had to offer. This is a band I highly recommend you check out and see what they are all about.
Let The Dancing Begin!
Now it was finally time for Railroad Earth to take the stage and the fans were amped up and ready to go. The lights were very dark as the band took their respective spots on stage and the music began to flow. After a few moments, the epic light show began as the stage was awash in a dazzling display of varying colors which would change throughout the night adding a key visual component to the music. Ah yes, the music; this is the kind of music that will have you dancing one minute and dreaming the next. It washes over you, encompasses the very essence of your soul, and allows you to forget about the world outside if only for one night. This is the kind of performance that Railroad Earth puts on and put it on for Charlotte is exactly what they did. The band is one that can not be put into any specific genre as their music covers a wide span of everything from bluegrass, folk, and Americana to country, prog, and rock with a dose of jazz and soul thrown into the mix.
Musically the band was at the top of their game with vocalist and guitarist Todd Sheaffer leading the charge along with tremendous strings from Tim Carbone on violin and Andrew Altman on the acoustic bass. John Skehan rocked the mandolin while drummer Carey Harmon drove the pace. They also had touring members Mike Robinson on banjo and Matthew Slocum on keys to round out the ensemble.
Another thing that Railroad Earth does is a varied setlist where fans never know exactly what songs they are going to hear, enabling them to attend many shows and always have something different going on. In fact, live recordings of shows are available to purchase so fans can relive a particular show or check out one that they may have missed.
With such a big catalog of songs and covers that are often thrown into the setlist, the show allows for two full sets by the band. After the first set, Railroad Earth takes a break and then returns for set number two which goes on into the wee hours of the morning. What more can anyone ask for?
With great songs, an everchanging setlist, epic jams, and improvisational surprises, Railroad Earth is one band that you simply must see live at least once in your lifetime. Warning: Once won’t be enough so if you find yourself road-tripping the country following the tour, don’t say I didn’t warn you, just be sure to tell them Kris sent you.