Posts Tagged ‘Amen Corner’

Review of RRE’s “Amen Corner”

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Chris Cooper reviews Railroad Earth‘s Amen Corner in the Smoky Mounain News. An excerpt:

Amen Corner is a solid, nicely recorded album from the guys in RRE: one that shows them more comfortable in their collective skin than ever before. Mix this with the ever- growing songwriting skills of Todd Sheaffer, and Amen Corner might just be one of the best things the band has put out yet. For fans of the band already, this is a no-brainer. But if this disc serves as an introduction to Railroad Earth for some of you, it’s a darn fine place to start.

Read the whole review here.

Railroad Earth’s “Amen Corner”

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Disclosure: I just made a record with four members of this band (produced by fiddler Tim Carbone) and I have performed with Railroad Earth several times. But my respect and admiration for the band predates our collaboration.

I listened to Railroad Earth‘s new CD, Amen Corner, several times in a row on a road trip last week, and I’m still listening to it at home; it is a great, great record.

This is what I look for in a band and an album: deeply engaging songs played and sung by musicians who really know how to tell a story.

Live, Railroad Earth shreds and Railroad Earth jams. They do that musical-conversation style of improvisation that we like so much, but it’s always in service of the song. “The jams sort of ‘comment’ on the songs, and give them color,” says Front man Todd Sheaffer on the band’s web site. “Some songs lend themselves to improvisation. They ‘want’ to be approached that way – where we can explore and trade musical ideas and open them up to different territories.”

When they do open up, Sheaffer’s songs are worthy vehicles for jamming. Like so many of our favorite songwriters, he describes a universe very much like ours but also very much a place of its own, giving the listener, and his bandmates, a lot to think about as the musical dialogue ensues.

“Seven Story Mountain,” from the band’s first CD, remains my favorite RRE song to hear live. I remember one from Jamaica in 2006 that took me to that place where 1969 “Dark Stars” go. On another occasion, I got to hear fiddler/percussionist Joe Craven engage the song, and the band, for the first time live on KPFA (a performance that was released on a CD called Live from Berkeley – a fund-raiser for public radio).

There is no weak link in this band instrumentally, but multi-instrumentalist Andy Goessling is my desert island player: if I could only have one musician to work with, I would choose Andy in an instant. The band’s web site lists acoustic guitars, banjo, dobro, mandolin, flute, pennywhistle, saxophones and vocals; on my CD, he played 6-string, 12-string, bass clarinet, clarinet, ukulele, autoharp, banjo, baritone sax, and fingerpicked National steel guitar. Andy plays these instruments not just competently but with authority and inspiration.

I’m still getting to know the songs on Amen Corner. So far, I love “The Forecast” most, and “Waggin’ the Dog” and “Been Down This Road.” “Bringin’ My Baby Back Home” is some kind of instant classic, too. I’m looking forward to developing a relationship with these songs, on the CD and in live performance. Great grooves, great changes, great melodies, great arrangements, great lyrics, great singing, great playing, and as timeless and deeply American as The Band. Amen Corner could be heard coming out of a 1949 panel truck or a red VW microbus or a Mustang convertible; sounded great in my Subaru rolling down 101.

New Railroad Earth CD “Amen Corner”

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

News from Railroad Earth:

Amen Corner Pre-Order Campaign

Railroad Earth and SCI Fidelity Records are pleased to announce the Amen Corner Pre-Order Campaign.

Beginning on May 7th, 2008, the first 750 Amen Corner CDs purchased through RREs own website will include a Special Limited Edition DVD of all seven videos (compiled in one set) recorded as part of the making of the band’s new album, Amen Corner.

This DVD will only be made available as part of the first 750 CDs purchased through our site. There will be no commercial production of these videos beyond this campaign.

In addition, the first 250 CDs ordered will be signed by all of the band members.

To order your CDs, go to or visit the Merchandise Page on the Railroad Earth web site.

(Please note: CDs will not be shipped until just prior to the official release date on June 10th!)

Be sure to visit the Amen Corner Website. New videos and audio will be released through the website on Tuesday, May 13th!

RRE Family