Railroad Earth - The Good Life

Music Reviews Railroad Earth
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Railroad Earth - The Good Life

New Jersey’s Railroad Earth is a bluegrass band the way Nickel Creek is a bluegrass band. That is, they use traditional bluegrass instrumentation as a launching pad for genre-bending exercises that are impossible to categorize and equally impossible to ignore. With a bevy of banjos, fiddles and mandolins, The Good Life mixes elements of folk, rock, Celtic and country music with the introspective lyrical reach of a great singer/songwriter album. Up-tempo Celtic-tinged tracks like “Storms” and “Long Way to Go” would’ve fit seamlessly on The Waterboys’ great Fisherman’s Blues, with lead singer/songwriter Todd Sheaffer doing his best Mike Scott impression. “Mourning Flies” is the kind of mid-tempo poetic excursion Adam Duritz of Counting Crows writes several times per album, while “In the Basement” is a sepia-tinged, surprisingly sweet ballad about a father and son building model airplanes together. Although the band’s pop tendencies come more to the forefront with this album, they most assuredly know how to jam, and “Water Fountain Quicksand” offers ample evidence of their instrumental prowess. For Railroad Earth, life is good and getting better.

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