All the Right Side Tracks

Amen Corner
SCI Fidelity 1098

The latest from bluegrass jam band Railroad Earth is an Americana mash-up of The Band, Old and in the Way, and The Grateful Dead. On the rockabilly “Waggin’ the Dog” there’s even a brief wink to Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks.” There are numerous classic bluegrass mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and flat-picked guitar breakouts on this album, but check out the blaring alto sax that rocks out “Hard Livin’.” Frontman Todd Sheaffer is a vocal chameleon who is Country smooth at one moment, a wailing arena rock singer the next, and singing like a pained backwoodsmen a split second later. In the latter persona he rightly draws comparisons to Jerry Garcia. This hard-driving release is a welcome relief from overdone bluegrass/jazz fusion projects.

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