RAILROAD EARTH > Amen Corner

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Railroad Earth hit all the right notes and stay “right in tune” on their fourth studio album thanks to a little homespun love. Amen Corner is a quiet affair filled with lush instrumentation, sweet songs and passionate picking.Label: SCI FIDELITY RECORDS
[RATING: 3]

Railroad Earth hit all the right notes and stay “right in tune” on their fourth studio album thanks to a little homespun love. Amen Corner is a quiet affair filled with lush instrumentation, sweet songs and passionate picking. This is mountain music with a family farm attitude at its finest. Written and recorded at Lonecroft, the 300-year-old rural New Jersey farmhouse owned by Todd Sheaffer-the principal singer/songwriter and the force behind this steam locomotive-this rural retreat provided inspiration and a soothing setting for this rootsy recording.

The music made on this centuries old farm has a timeless quality that echoes The Band’s seminal debut Music from Big Pink. The earthiness of Lonecroft is apparent throughout. The band even includes an instrumental ode to Sheaffer’s homestead (“Lonecroft Ramble”) that showcases the picking prowess of these accomplished acoustically-inclined musicians. Listening to “Little Bit O Me” one could swear Jerry Garcia has risen from the grave.

Mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer/mixer Phil Nicolo, these dozen tracks show the diversity of this talented sextet of New Jersey as well as the songwriting talents of Sheaffer. Listening to this band for the first time, one is ready to get up and dance.

The hybrid car is all the rage these days and this term is a perfect descriptor for Railroad Earth; their music defies classification and that’s a good thing. At its core, the band is a roots lovers’ reverie. The Greencards and Nickel Creek come to mind on some songs, while hints of the Grateful Dead (“You Never Know”) and even Dave Matthews-especially evident on “Hard Livin” with its soulful sax-are touchstones on other key tracks. “Crossing the Gap” is a bluegrass romp sure to make you grin with its mean mandolin. Railroad Earth offers a unique fusion of sweet and seductive sounds. Take a trip down the line with Railroad Earth. Americana never sounded so good.


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