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Bird In A House

5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 4, 2002
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 4, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sugar Hill
  • ASIN: B000066AV6
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,010 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Boy, do I like these guys.

It's not as though there hasn't been plenty of good acoustic music. Even before "O Brother Where Art Thou?" made bluegrass popular again, there was good jamgrass around: the late great Jerry Garcia (not only with the Dead but also with Old & In The Way), the New Grass Revival, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Tony Rice, David Grisman, and so on have been making that kind of music since long before it was fashionable.

More recently there have been the String Cheese Incident, Leftover Salmon, the Yonder Mountain String Band, and a handful of other fine bands. But as fine as these bands are (and I especially like SCI), I've just had a faint sense that something has been missing, something that had perhaps died with Jerry Garcia.

Then I put this CD into my player. I thought "Drag Him Down" was pretty good, but I wasn't too excited yet. (I hadn't listened very closely.) Then "Bird in a House" and "Like a Buddha" came on. And I said to myself, "Aha -- _that's_ what was missing."

I still don't know exactly what "that" is. But it has something to do with the musical sensibilities of the group's primary songwriter Todd Sheaffer (formerly of From Good Homes) and the tremendous array of acoustic talent in this six-person combo.

Lots of listeners have compared these guys to the Dead of the _Workingman's Dead_/_American Beauty_ period, and also to Garcia's aforementioned Old & In The Way. (And not just because From Good Homes used to open occasionally for Ratdog.) Oddly, Railroad Earth doesn't sound like either of those bands at all, and yet there's quite a lot to the comparison.

Take _Workingman's Dead_, for example. It sounds, on the surface, like more or less traditional American acoustic music.
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Format: Audio CD
Jamgrass music is turning a lot of heads these days, with its eclectic sounds that blend bluegrass and rock music. This mutated hybrid genre is building a large fan base, although some feel that many mu-grass bands and practitioners have yet to really deliver a signature sound. Railroad Earth, on the other hand, is a relatively new band fronted by Todd Sheaffer that is demonstrating some of the strongest songwriting, vocals, and instrumental pyroclastics to hit the jamgrass scene in quite some time. Their music has infused some new life into a genre that seemed to be getting rather tedious.
Presumably this band takes their name from the Jack Kerouac poem "October in the Railroad Earth," an uplifting piece that begins with a meticulous description of a mad street scene. As Kerouac starts to hallucinate, one realizes their own place in the universe. Like Kerouac's free-blowing improvisational writing style, Railroad Earth's music is also visionary.
Railroad Earth is comprised of musicians who once played in various Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey bands until they realized they shared common musical interests and came together. Lead singer/guitarist Todd Sheaffer was a founding member, front man and primary songwriter for the band, From Good Homes, who recorded for RCA and frequently opened for Ratdog. Fiddler Tim Carbone and multi-instrumentalist/banjo-player Andy Goessling were both founding members of The Blue Sparks from Hell, who toured the eastern seaboard for years to packed houses. Mandolinist John Skehan played, toured and recorded with a number of bluegrass and rock bands over the past few years. New Yorker Carey Harmon played drums and percussion with the regional touring band, The Hour.
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Format: Audio CD
I was turned on to these guys at Telluride, where they absolutely turned it out in the Fly Me to The Moon Saloon one post-festival evening. I've seen them again since in San Francisco and they seemed to have gotten twice as nice! This band is really cruising right now -- churning out beautiful new material, blowing up show after show. I can agree with the other reviewers in that they are not easily classified into any single genre of music: rock, bluegrass, folk, whatever. Instead, they offer something that has such amazing range that it can touch many different styles and sounds at once -- watch how easily they segue into a New Orleans brass sound at the end of "Came Up Smilin." Bluegrass may or may not continue to attract mainstream attention but Railroad Earth will succeed either way because they offer something so incredibly unique and wonderful.
Prepare yourself for the unstoppable urge to leap around your living room until you crash through the coffee table . . .
also, check out the Black Bear Sessions and Shaeffer's Solo Work.
Godspeed!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this CD to anyone who enjoys well written intricately played music. This is what I would call Americana Bluegrass. The songs are catchy and very fun to listen to. You will find yourself humming the melodies or outright singing along with each vocal track. Their is a beautiful mix of instruments on this CD ,Banjo, Mandolin, Fiddle, and Tin Whistle really add to the the sound a full and extremely talenetd feel. The singing and inflection never gets tedious and the CD is a joy to listen to over and over. Thank you Railroad Earth for writing and recording it Thank you Amazon for recommending it.
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