No one would know all the tribulations that influenced “It’s So Good,” the latest track from bluegrass rockers Railroad Earth upon first listen. Upbeat—even cheerful—the track was inspired by how a tour can go wrong but end so right. “It’s So Good” taps into surviving life on the road despite flights from hell, broken down tour buses, and vans catching on fire.
Videos by American Songwriter
The second single from the band’s latest album, All For The Song, out in 2020, the track is deeply rooted in Railroad Earth’s tumultuous travels. For singer and guitarist Todd Sheaffer, along with bassist Andrew Altman, drummer Carey Harmon, violinist Tim Carbone, and John Skehan on mandolin, everything that could go wrong on the road went wrong—and then there’s more.
Verse by verse of “It’s So Good,” lays out their touring nightmares. The first is an abbreviated version of a day the band spent trekking from Steamboat Springs, Colorado to Grand Targhee, Wyoming. “Broke down buses, side-of-the-road Sunday, nothing open, borrowed ski shuttles, broken axles, lost tires, vans on fire,” shares Sheaffer, “it’s a long story.”
The second verse covers the numerous flight mishaps, while the last covers their final struggle to get back home before the chorus brings it all back to that joyous moment of returning to family and friends, and all the things that make it worthwhile. “At the end of it all, I still have to fight traffic and make my way west to get home,” says Sheaffer. “All for the song—the payoff, of course!”
Apparently, the band likes the “torture” of touring. They’re set to go back on the road in 2020 and will finally explore tracks off All For The Song live. This tour will be the first time the new songs have been performed since the band typically records tracks before playing them live. They prefer to uncover a song’s personality this way and switch up arrangements night to night.
Hopefully, this time around will be smooth touring for the band. Through struggle, great art is often created. In this case, Railroad Earth conceived “It’s So Good.”
“Man, the crazy shit we musicians do just to play a little music,” says Sheaffer. “With this song, I had some fun with the curse of the touring musician—and everyone else in the world, for that matter.”