earth

Can I Hear An Amen?: Railroad Earth's New Album

photos by Kent Anderson & C Taylor Crothers- for the Grateful Web

It's a curiosity that Railroad Earth named their latest album, Amen Corner.  A lot of people relate that name to holes 11-13 in a full ro

Railroad Earth's Amen Corner Hits Streets June 10

photos by Amanda Bell- for the Grateful Web

After a long wait and plenty of anticipation, Railroad Earth prepares to release their new studio album Amen Corner, which will be in stores nationwide on June 10, 2008 (SCI Fidelity Records).  Written and recorded at lead singer/songwriter Todd Sheaffer's 300 year-old farmhouse in New Jersey's rural countryside, Amen Corner is, literally and figuratively, the rustic sound of a band happy to be at home. 

"Normally," Sheaffer explains, "you come home after six weeks on the road and jump into the studio, all frazzled because you don't have much left in the tank.  This time I feel like we've invited our friends into our living room and that's basically how we recorded it.  We wanted for years to try working this way and I'm so happy we were finally able to do it."

Combine that with the fact that Sheaffer, bassist Johnny Grubb and drummer/percussionist Carey Harmon all became fathers in the months leading up to the recording sessions and you have a recipe for change.

"The changes in our lives brought about a peacefulness that is reflected in the music," says Sheaffer. "We consciously tried to take the approach of 'less is more' in how we arranged the songs."

That "less is more" attitude is also evident in the band's and record label's decision to make the album as "green" as possible.  After considerable research, SCI Fidelity selected Printing Responsibly of Rockaway, NJ to print all promotional materials related to the album.  All posters and postcards announcing the album release are printed on FSC Certified paper using soy based inks, as will tour materials which will be produced later this year.

"SCI Fidelity and Railroad Earth have devoted considerable time and energy, educating ourselves on environmental issues and the green movement," said Matt Hogan, Director of Marketing at SCI Fidelity.  "The Forecast page on the album web site is devoted entirely to various green-related issues, environmental action and sustainability causes."

"FSC certification is about much more than recycled paper", stated Steven VanPraagh, owner of Printing Responsibly.  "It's about knowing where the fiber in the paper comes from, and that any trees that are cut are replanted.  It's about people all over the world working in the timber and paper industries being as responsible as possible; replenishing and sustaining our renewable resources.  It's about environmental, economic, social and personal responsibility.  And in this case, it happens to be about great music too."

Amen Corner is a collection of crisp and crafted roots, bluegrass, and acoustic sides that resonates in all the right places. The tunes breathe both on and between the notes. They hit you immediately, but then linger like a good buzz.  Look for Amen Corner in stores nationwide on June 10, 2008.

The band tours this summer in support of Amen Corner.  Current confirmed tour dates include:

June 04 The Orange Peel Asheville NC
June 05 Variety Playhouse Atlanta GA
June 06 Riverbend Festival Chattanooga TN
June 07 Bama Jam Enterprise AL
June 10 Vintage Vinyl St. Louis MO 6pm In-Store Performance
June 10 Blueberry Hill St. Louis MO
June 11 The Crossroads Kansas City KS
June 13-14 Ogden Theatre Denver CO CD Release Party!
June 16 The Paladium Salt Lake City UT
June 17 The Big Easy Concert House Boise ID
June 19 McDonald Theatre Eugene OR
June 20 Crystal Ballroom Portland OR
June 21 The Showbox Seattle WA
June 28 Community Theatre at Mayo Center for Performing Arts Morristown NJ
July 01 Summerfest 2008 Milwaukee WI
July 03 ROTHBURY Rothbury MI
July 04-05 High Sierra Music Festival Quincy CA
July 13 All Good Music Festival Masontown WV
July 25 Floydfest Floyd VA
July 27 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Hillsdale NY
August 01 Dunegrass Festival Empire MI
August 02 Silver Maple Music Festival Comstock Park MI
August 13-14 YarmonyGrass Copper Mountain CO
September 04 9:30 Club Washington DC
September 05 The Fillmore at the Theatre of Living Arts Philadelphia PA
September 06 The Fillmore NY at Irving Plaza New York NY
September 13 Barrymore Theatre Madison WI
September 14 Miramar Theater Milwaukee WI
September 16 The Cabooze Minneapolis MN
September 17 The Englert Theater Iowa City IA
September 19-20 Fox Theater Boulder CO
September 22 Orpheum Theatre Flagstaff AZ
September 23 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach CA
September 26-27 The Fillmore San Francisco CA

Planet Defenders: Rock the Earth Marshals Action through Music

Bonnie Raitt & Rock the Earth's Marc Ross- for the Grateful Web

Six years ago, Marc A. Ross discovered a seminal way to champion environmental causes. Ross, who has been both an environmental prosecutor and an industry defense attorney, remembers, "One common theme that I saw…. was that small groups of citizens that were directly impacted by environmental issues…were being steam rolled by industry. They were being outmaneuvered, being outgunned, out-litigated simply because they didn't have the PR or the financial resources to hire competent counsel and scientists to take up their very legitimate claims."

That's when Ross decided to level the playing field by tapping the high profile music industry's PR strength and its ability to fundraise for charities. In 2002, Rock the Earth was born, and Ross became its executive director.

Rock the Earth brings environmental awareness to music fans, garnering not only donations for their projects but also volunteers. Today, the organization has only three paid employees and three dozen Volunteer Staffers and Advisory Board Members. They also have a technical team of scientists from a variety of fields, environmental attorneys, and consultants. This broadens Rock the Earth's ability to tackle different issues.

Early on, Rock the Earth consulted with festivals, tours, and the cruise industry to help them green their events. Over time, other organizations, such as Reverb, CLIF Bar GreenNotes, and MusicMatters, have appeared to take on that mission and other environmental concerns.

Rock the Earth's mission evolved to providing environmental education, fostering activism, and offering legal and technical assistance to small groups. "We're a great plug and play organization," says Ross. For example, Rock the Earth is an active presence at many festivals and concerts. They maintain a presence at Bonnaroo on the Solar Stage. "Every day, we conduct a series of interviews, panel discussions, and musical performances all on the theme of social change through music," Ross explains.  His one-on-one interviews showcase performers who don't normally talk about these issues. At Bonnaroo, Rock the Earth has worked with a number of artists, including Bob Weir, Warren Haynes, Michael Franti, Bonnie Raitt, John Butler, Trevor Garrod (Tea Leaf Green), and Liz Berlin (Rusted Root).

ozzfestLast year, the organization was a major presence at Ozzfest and at Warp Tour shows. "We were the first and only non-profit to work with Ozzfest, and obviously the first environmental group to work with Ozzie," Ross says. "A lot of Ozzie's music has been political over the years from 'Crazy Train' to some of his newer songs on his most recent album are political and environmentally-conscious songs…. I just don't think the rest of the environmental movement thought about working with someone like Ozzie."

This year Rock the Earth is also moving forward with its first environmental litigation. Against the National Park Service, it focuses on mismanagement of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. "It will impact how all wilderness areas and, in some ways, public lands are treated in this country and whether concessions and recreation are put over wilderness protection," says Ross. "Pretty soon there won't be anywhere you can go in this country without hearing the roar of motors."

Rock the Earth also has partnered with the Center for Water Advocacy as well as several indigenous plaintiffs, including the Oglala Sioux tribe, to stop the expansion of a uranium mine in Nebraska that affects indigenous water rights and may affect public health. "That issue has legs because it touches on global warming and whether or not this new Western uranium boom and nuclear power boom is the solution to global warming," says Ross.

This past year, Rock the Earth was successful in its first petition campaign against Wal-Mart to get them to stop buying and selling mulch from Louisiana cypress trees. The organization also conducted its first service project, partnering with the John Butler Trio, CLIF Bar GreenNotes, and two other organizations, to clean up Ocean Beach in San Francisco.  And, Rock the Earth's legal and technical team worked or reviewed fifteen separate issues brought to them by the music community.

Nearly half of its 2,000-plus members in all fifty states have volunteered to work tables at festivals and concerts, provide technical or legal assistance, write grants, or help spread the word.  This will ensure that Rock the Earth will continue to champion the earth as its motto says: Defending the Earth One Beat at a Time.

fishThis spring, Rock the Earth was awarded the Mimi Fishman Memorial Community Service Award at the 7th Annual Jammy Awards. Those Ross was honored and humbled by the award, he also called music fans to action saying, "...regardless of who is our next President, come January 2009, our country and our planet will still continue to face very serious environmental issues that will only be solved by keeping the pressure on the government and polluters and holding them accountable for their actions." The work continues.

UPDATE:  On April 29, 2008, a three-judge panel of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board ruled in favor of the Oglala Tribe's right to challenge the proposed Crow Butte Uranium Mine expansion. Though, the NRC Staff has appealed, much work remains by the tribe to block the mine expansion.

Railroad Earth CD Release Party at Ogden Theatre June 13-14

photo by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Anticipation has been building for a new release and for the first time in 4 years, Railroad Earth found themselves back in the studio recording all new material.  It's definitely a home-grown project, much like the band itself.  Railroad Earth's new studio release, Amen Corner, was written and recorded at Lone Croft: an empty, 300 year-old house in New Jersey's rural countryside.  What happened inside the building was the experience of a lifetime for the band's members, resulting in an early creative pinnacle of a gifted young band, and an album that is an instant Americana classic.  Amen Corner is a collection of crisp and crafted roots, bluegrass, and acoustic sides that resonates in all the right places. The tunes breathe both on and between the notes.  They hit you immediately, but then linger like a good buzz.  Look for Amen Corner to hit in June 10, 2008 on SCI Fidelity Records.

Railroad Earth is currently on tour.  Current confirmed tour dates include:

May 24 DelFest Cumberland MD
May 25 Hookahville Thornville OH
June 01 2008 Crawfish Festival Augusta NJ
June 04 The Orange Peel Asheville NC
June 05 Variety Playhouse Atlanta GA
June 06 Riverbend Festival Chattanooga TN
June 07 Bama Jam Enterprise AL
June 10 Vintage Vinyl St. Louis MO 6pm In-Store Performance
June 10 Blueberry Hill St. Louis MO
June 11 The Crossroads Kansas City KS
June 13-14 Ogden Theatre Denver CO CD Release Party!
June 16 The Paladium Salt Lake City UT
June 17 The Big Easy Concert House Boise ID
June 19 McDonald Theatre Eugene OR
June 20 Crystal Ballroom Portland OR
June 21 The Showbox Seattle WA
July 01 Summerfest 2008 Milwaukee WI
July 03 ROTHBURY Rothbury MI
July 04-05 High Sierra Music Festival Quincy CA
July 13 All Good Music Festival Masontown WV
July 25 Floydfest Floyd VA
July 27 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Hillsdale NY
August 01 Dunegrass Festival Empire MI
August 02 Silver Maple Music Festival Comstock Park MI
August 13-14 YarmonyGrass Bond CO
September 04 9:30 Club Washington DC
September 05 The Fillmore at the Theatre of Living Arts Philadelphia PA
September 06 The Fillmore NY at Irving Plaza New York NY
September 16 The Cabooze Minneapolis MN
September 17 The Englert Theater Iowa City IA
September 19-20 Fox Theater Boulder CO
September 23 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach CA
September 26-27 The Fillmore San Francisco CA

Today is Earth Day! Green is Good!

Go Green Everyday!- for the Grateful Web

Today is Earth Day, and while many of you are doing your part to go green, some not-so-green companies are spending a lot of money to pretend they are. While some companies are genuinely trying to be sustainable, others are paying lip service to being green while carrying on with business as usual. I'm sure you've seen the slick ads on TV and in your favorite magazine about environmentally-friendly oil and auto companies or so-called "clean coal."

It's what we call greenwashing - when a company advertises that it's developing a green product line or engaging in sustainable business practices when it really isn't. Well, this Earth Day, we've got news for them. Greenpeace has just launched a website designed to expose greenwashing practices in corporate America: www.StopGreenwash.org.

We're launching our new site with three investigative pieces on nuclear power, "Clean Coal" and General Motors' "Gas Friendly to Gas Free" campaigns.

And YOU have a chance to show these big companies that you won't be fooled by misleading green advertising and public relations campaigns. If you find an ad you think is a phony, upload it to our site. Or visit the site and vote for the ads you think are the most misleading.

And that's not all. Keep coming back to the site to get our take on these greenwashing campaigns. Coming soon will be more investigations of Big Auto, Big Oil, the chemical industry, and retailers. We'll expose the deception and give you the real story - wiping away the greenwash and spurring the companies to do better.

Want to do even more? The so-called "clean" coal industry isn't just trying to fool you - these companies are trying to fool Congress, too. And guess who will foot the bill? YOU will - through taxpayer subsidies!

Railroad Earth To Release Amen Corner June 10, 2008

photo by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Anticipation has been building for a new release and for the first time in 4 years, Railroad Earth found themselves back in the studio recording all new material.  It's definitely a home-grown project, much like the band itself.  Railroad Earth's new studio release, Amen Corner, was written and recorded at Lone Croft: an empty, 300 year-old house in New Jersey's rural countryside. What happened inside the building was the experience of a lifetime for the band's members, resulting in an early creative pinnacle of a gifted young band, and an album that is an instant Americana classic. Amen Corner is a collection of crisp and crafted roots, bluegrass, and acoustic sides that resonates in all the right places. The tunes breathe both on and between the notes. They hit you immediately, but then linger like a good buzz.  Look for Amen Corner to hit in June 10, 2008 on SCI Fidelity Records.

Railroad Earth is currently on tour.  Current confirmed tour dates include:

April 11 Warsaw at the Polish National Home Brooklyn NY
April 17 Tupelo Music Hall Londonderry NH
April 18 Pearl Street Northampton MA
April 19 Bearsville Theater Bearsville NY
April 24 Higher Ground South Burlington VT
April 25 East Hartford Community Cultural Center East Hartford CT
April 26 IMAC Theater Huntington NY
May 02 The German House Rochester NY
May 03 Oberlin College Oberlin OH
May 24 DelFest Cumberland MD
May 25 Hookahville Thornville OH
June 01 2008 Crawfish Festival Augusta NJ
June 05 Variety Playhouse Atlanta GA
June 06 Riverbend Festival Chattanooga TN
June 07 Bama Jam Enterprise AL
June 10 Vintage Vinyl St. Louis MO 6pm In-Store Performance
June 10 Blueberry Hill St. Louis MO
June 13-14 Ogden Theatre Denver CO CD Release Party!
June 19 McDonald Theatre Eugene OR
June 20 Crystal Ballroom Portland OR
June 21 The Showbox Seattle WA
July 01 Summerfest 2008 Milwaukee WI
July 03 ROTHBURY Rothbury MI
July 04-05 High Sierra Music Festival Quincy CA
July 13 All Good Music Festival Masontown WV
July 25 Floydfest Floyd VA
August 01 Dunegrass Festival Empire MI
August 02 Silver Maple Music Festival Comstock Park MI
August 13-14 YarmonyGrass Bond CO

RAILROAD EARTH ON TOUR THIS SUMMER

photo by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

Using bluegrass tradition as a starting point, then exploring various musical idioms ranging from Celtic to Rock and Country to Folk, all infused with enduring lyrical storytelling and innate pop sensibilities, Railroad Earth has unearthed and delivered a truly original Americana sound.

Right from their first shows in May 2001, word-of-mouth on Railroad Earth was instant and superlative, as evidenced by their rapidly growing and highly loyal fan base. Driven by the remarkable songs of front-man, Todd Sheaffer, and delivered with seamless arrangements and superb musicianship courtesy of all six band members, Railroad Earth's powerful live experience has finally been captured on their first ever live release, Elko (SCI Fidelity Records).  Recorded during their 2005 spring tour, the double disc set captures all the timeless qualities without compromising the unpredictable nature that is at the core of a Railroad Earth concert.

Railroad Earth is currently on tour in support of Elko.  Current confirmed tour dates include:

September 06 Higher Ground South Burlington VT
September 07 Paradise Rock Club Boston MA
September 08 CT Folk Festival and Green Expo New Haven CT
September 11 The Dame Lexington KY
September 12 The Orange Peel Asheville NC
September 13 WorkPlay Theatre Birmingham AL
September 15 Austin City Limits Festival Austin TX
September 18 Varsity Theatre Baton Rouge LA
September 19 Granada Theater Dallas TX
September 21 Mulberry Mountain Music Festival Ozark AR
September 24 Cain's Ballroom Tulsa OK with Hot Buttered Rum
September 25 Tha Crossroads Kansas City MO with Hot Buttered Rum
September 26 Knickerbocker's Lincoln NE with Hot Buttered Rum
September 28-29 Gothic Theatre Englewood CO with Hot Buttered Rum
October 01 El Rey Theatre Albuquerque NM with Hot Buttered Rum
October 02 Orpheum Theatre Flagstaff AZ with Hot Buttered Rum
October 04 Key Club West Hollywood CA
October 05 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach CA
October 07 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass San Francisco CA
October 26-27 Magnolia Fest Live Oak FL
November 01 Rams Head Live! Baltimore MD
November 02 The Fillmore at Theatre of Living Arts Philadelphia PA
November 03 The Fillmore at Irving Plaza New York NY
November 23-24 The Sherman Theatre Stroudsburg PA

More dates to be announced soon. 

Railroad Earth Tours To Support New Live Album, Elko

Tim Carbone- for the Grateful Web

Using bluegrass tradition as a starting point, then exploring various musical idioms ranging from Celtic to Rock and Country to Folk, all infused with enduring lyrical storytelling and innate pop sensibilities, Railroad Earth has unearthed and delivered a truly original Americana sound.

Right from their first shows in May 2001, word-of-mouth on Railroad Earth was instant and superlative, as evidenced by their rapidly growing and highly loyal fan base. Driven by the remarkable songs of front-man, Todd Sheaffer, and delivered with seamless arrangements and superb musicianship courtesy of all six band members, Railroad Earth's powerful live experience has finally been captured on their first ever live release, Elko (SCI Fidelity Records).  Recorded during their 2005 spring tour, the double disc set captures all the timeless qualities without compromising the unpredictable nature that is at the core of a Railroad Earth concert.

Railroad Earth is currently on tour in support of Elko.  Current confirmed tour dates include:

March 30 The State Theatre State College PA
March 31 Irving Plaza New York NY
April 06 Fox Theatre Boulder CO
April 07 Gothic Theater Englewood CO
April 09 The Depot Salt Lake City UT
April 10 Big Easy Concert House Boise ID
April 12 The Showbox Seattle WA
April 13 Crystal Ballroom Portland OR
April 14 McDonald Theatre Eugene OR
April 17 Ashland Armory Ashland OR
April 18 Senator Theatre Chico CA
April 19 McNear's Mystic Theatre Petaluma CA
April 20-21 Great American Music Hall San Francisco CA
April 24 Aruba Hotel Las Vegas NV
April 25 Knitting Factory Hollywood CA
April 26 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach CA
April 28 McDowell Mountain Music Festival Scottsdale AZ
April 29 El Rey Theatre Albuquerque AZ
June 08-09 Wakarusa Festival Lawrence KS
June 16 Bonnaroo Music Festival Manchester TN

"For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth." (Col. 1:16)

- for the Grateful Web

Many leaders of the Evangelical movement came together this week to stand up for the environment. Though not all evangelicals agree with their stance, the leaders cited Bible verses for the change in their position, and are urging government, businesses and individuals to cut emissions to combat global warming.

 

 

It's a shame then that President Bush does not share the views of the majority of his proponents.  Despite the fact that the President just recently promised in his State of the Union address to help to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and pledged more research money for alternative fuel sources, his proposed budget revealed only days later, tells a different story.  Environmental causes on the whole were slashed by 13 percent.  Now, this may not seem terribly significant, but when you consider the fact that our natural environment is teetering on a ledge that we may never be able to retreat from, it becomes more significant.  And instead of getting the additional funding needed to reverse the trend, budgets are being cut despite Bush's recent promises.

 

 

The Evangelical leaders are also asking politicians to draft legislation mandating emission reductions in carbon dioxide, but President Bush opposes these mandatory reductions, insisting they will hurt the economy.  And instead of funding energy conservation programs, the cheapest way to increase supply of energy sources, Bush's 2007 budget calls for an 18 percent cut to energy efficient programs.  As the final kicker, as reported just today, President Bush proposes selling over 300,000 acres of National Forest to fund rural schools.  I've got a better idea:  let's do away with the tax break to the wealthiest 1% of the nation, or better yet, increase the tax on the oil companies, who have enjoyed their heftiest profits ever, while middle to low-income families, and are taking it in the wallet.  There would be plenty of money to fund schools, combat terrorism, and save the forests, and hopefully reverse global warming.

 

 

The commands of Jesus in the Bible are clear.  We are to "love our neighbors" (Mark 12:30-31), "do unto others as we would have them do unto us" (Luke 6:31), care for "the least of these" (Matthew 25:40-45), and be proper "stewards of His creation" (Luke 12:42-48).   It's nice to know that Evangelicals are holding themselves to these standards.  If only President Bush and Congress would take these views into consideration and stop carrying out the usual Conservative agenda.  After all, as a poignant bumper sticker pointedly asks, "What exactly are Conservatives conserving?"

 

 

It's high time to do away with political labels and stereotypes and come together as Americans, as humans, as "stewards" of the earth.  I'm pretty sure it's what Jesus would want us to do.

Railroad Earth Announces New Year's Eve 2005 Run

Railroad Earth 2005- for the Grateful Web

New Jersey-based national touring act Railroad Earth has announced it will play a three-night run of shows in late December leading up to New Year's Eve.  The shows in Northern Virginia and Pennsylvania will follow a series of concerts with Honkytonk Homeslice (Billy Nershi, String Cheese Incident) and come weeks before the release of the band's first live album, due out on SCI Fidelity Records in January 2006.

 

Railroad Earth's New Year's Eve run includes a stop at the State Theatre in Falls Church, VA on Dec. 29 and a two-night stand at the Theatre of the Living Arts (TLA) in Philadelphia on Dec. 30-31. This holiday mini-tour is a first for the sextet.  In the past, the band has rung in the New Year with a performance near its headquarters in New Jersey, and the band's management is pleased with the schedule of performances. "The band thoroughly enjoys performing at both the State Theatre and the TLA," said management.  "We couldn't be happier about returning to these venues for another successful run of shows."

 

For more information on these and other shows, and to order tickets, visit www.railroadearth.com.

 

# # #

Founded in 2001, Railroad Earth performs a progressive mix of bluegrass, folk, roots music and rock.  Fronted by lead singer and songwriter Todd Sheaffer, (From Good Homes), Railroad Earth features the musical talents of Tim Carbone, Andy Goessling, Johnny Grubb, Carey Harmon and John Skehan.  The band most recent studio album, "The Good Life," was released on Sugar Hill records in June 2004.

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