Elko

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Railroad Earth, the string band from New Jersey that has amassed a following in the Rocky Mountains, has made three studio albums. But the real test of a jam band, of course, is its live work, and Elko, Railroad Earth's fourth release, is the inevitable double-CD concert album. The sextet has an instrumentation that suggests bluegrass -- an acoustic guitarist, a violinist, a mandolin player, a multi-instrumentalist who plays banjo and Dobro among other things, and a rhythm section of acoustic bass and drums. But it is not shy about using amplification so that the stringed instruments can be heard over the drums, or effects more typical of an electrified ensemble. Thus,...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Railroad Earth, the string band from New Jersey that has amassed a following in the Rocky Mountains, has made three studio albums. But the real test of a jam band, of course, is its live work, and Elko, Railroad Earth's fourth release, is the inevitable double-CD concert album. The sextet has an instrumentation that suggests bluegrass -- an acoustic guitarist, a violinist, a mandolin player, a multi-instrumentalist who plays banjo and Dobro among other things, and a rhythm section of acoustic bass and drums. But it is not shy about using amplification so that the stringed instruments can be heard over the drums, or effects more typical of an electrified ensemble. Thus, the guitar solos that decorate "The Hunting Song," "Head," and "Warhead Boogie" may be played on an acoustic instrument in the technical sense, but they sure sound electric, and the music makes use of echo and other forms of sound manipulation. Still, the overall effect retains a modified acoustic feel. It isn't hard to imagine what records these musicians have on their shelves, say Workingman's Dead and American Beauty by the Grateful Dead, Rubber Soul by the Beatles, John Wesley Harding by Bob Dylan, and Music from Big Pink and The Band by the Band, and throw in recordings by New Grass Revival and the Rowan Brothers, plus, perhaps, the Waterboys' Fisherman's Blues. Lead singer and primary songwriter Todd Sheaffer particularly suggests the Waterboys' Mike Scott in his nasal tenor, which listeners also may hear as resembling Arlo Guthrie, Tom Petty, or Rodney Crowell. The question of whether or not Railroad Earth can jam, if it were really in doubt, is swiftly answered on a 126-minute collection of 12 songs, five of which run over ten minutes each. If there is any discordance in the band's music, it is between Sheaffer, whose songs, with their soul-searching lyrics, sound like singer/songwriter fare, and the rest of the group, which sometimes swamps those songs with their extended, exploratory improvising. The four string players achieve an instrumental cohesion that suggests bluegrass, while the rhythm section throws in occasional world music elements -- a Jamaican reggae beat here, a Celtic, African, or Middle Eastern cadence there. Repeating eight songs from the band's previous studio efforts, Elko sums up where Railroad Earth has been and suggests where it's going. Of course, it also makes a terrific invitation to see them live.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/24/2006
  • Label: Sci Fidelity Records
  • UPC: 662102103029
  • Catalog Number: 1030
  • Sales rank: 30,607

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Long Way to Go (6:20)
  2. 2 Colorado (9:26)
  3. 3 Bird in a House (7:22)
  4. 4 The Hunting Song (11:56)
  5. 5 Old Man and the Land (6:57)
  6. 6 Head (15:41)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Elko (8:59)
  2. 2 Mighty River (7:54)
  3. 3 Like a Buddha (16:00)
  4. 4 Warhead Boogie (15:05)
  5. 5 Railroad Earth (6:00)
  6. 6 Seven Story Mountain (14:10)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Railroad Earth Primary Artist
Todd Sheaffer Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Tim Carbone Violin, Vocals, Group Member
John Skehan Mandolin, Vocals, Group Member
Carey Harmon Drums, Vocals, Group Member
Andy Goessling Banjo, Dobro, Flute, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals, tin whistle, Group Member
Johnny Grubb Bass, Vocals, Group Member
Technical Credits
Robert Calabrese Composer
Fred Kevorkian Mastering
Brian Ross Management
Patrick Fitzsimmons Composer
Brady Rymer Composer
Todd Sheaffer Composer
Tim Carbone Composer
John Skehan Composer
Andy Goessling Composer
Dave Von Dollen Composer
Johnny Grubb Engineer
Mike Partridge Engineer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Railroad Earth showed a lot of jamming skills on this double CD

    Railroad Earth showed a lot of jamming skills on this double CD release. These guys can really stretch them out and still keep a tight groove; the shortest songs are 6 minutes. Unfortunately, their composing and singing abilities lag behind their instrumental ones. It’s too bad that they didn’t add a few covers to Todd Sheaffer’s original tunes. (The Grateful Dead, one of their points of inspiration, were never afraid to mix vintage tunes with their own songs.) As a result, the songs themselves are just not that interesting. The creepy Hunting Song and the Seven Story Mountain, the finale, at least are a little different. As a result, the package is little more than a source of pleasant, jaunty background music. Listen to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones for the best example of the bluegrass-jam band hybrid.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews