Phil Lesh Joins Railroad Earth in San Francisco

Phil Lesh joins Railroad Earth in San Fran- for the Grateful Web

On Saturday, April 16, at the second of Railroad Earth's two sold-out shows at the Independent in San Francisco, Phil Lesh joined the band for a generous portion of their second set.

Phil Lesh provided vocals and his trademark bass playing to Railroad Earth's "Seven Story Mountain," followed by a three-pack of Grateful Dead staples; "Friend of the Devil," "Terrapin Station," and "Going Down the Road Feelin' Bad," the last of which also featured Vince Herman on accompanying vocals.

This is not the first musical collaboration between Railroad Earth and Phil Lesh.  Members of the New Jersey-based band joined Phil Lesh and Friends at their last two San Francisco outings.

Railroad Earth is currently on tour.  For more information, check out

Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth- for the Grateful Web

Rising out of a state perhaps better known for its mobsters than its music, Railroad Earth just may surprise you with a trademark fusion of bluegrass, rock, and folk.  But this truly unique six-man assembly of talent, heart and dedication won't have it any other way.   From the foothills of the Kittatinny Mountains in the melting pot that is New Jersey, Railroad Earth is coming to a town near you.

Railroad Earth's Spring 2005 tour has already seen record crowds, and the band's impressive and steady growth shows no signs of stopping.   For the band, this visible sign of their success is well deserved.  For the fans, there is more than ever to love about one of the most widely discussed bands to grace stages around the country.

A true incarnation of an American roots music band, Railroad Earth seamlessly combines musical styles with original lyrics that never fail to find their way straight to your soul.  Lead vocalist Todd Sheaffer and Co. will move you from the first perfectly plucked note, and it is this effortless spirituality that puts Railroad Earth rightly in its own league. Since 2001 their musical growth and increasing notoriety in a musical scene so often sagging with mass-marketed talent, has been undeniable, but not surprising for a band whose success has come in leaps and bounds from day one.

It could be said that Railroad Earth hit the scene poised to become one of today's most widely respected bands.  Just three weeks after its six members jammed together for the very first time, they went into a local studio and produced a five-song demo, recorded live with no overdubs except for backup vocals.  Based on it's strength and remarkable sound, Railroad Earth landed a slot at the legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival. It would be their tenth gig.  2001's "The Black Bear Sessions" was born straight from this remarkable demo, and the album's clean and honest sound helped to make it one of Relix Magazine's top 20 albums of that year.  It also got the band a record deal with Sugar Hill records, home to such prestigious names as Nickel Creek and Dolly Parton.

Railroad Earth's sophomore effort "Bird in a House," sealed its reputation as one of the music scene's most talented and hard working bands.  The June 2002 release came after a year of steady touring, and its critical acclaim further bolstered the group, already on its way to becoming a staple on the national touring and festival scene.  Praise for the album, which showcases the band's impressive musical chops on what were already classic songs, was widespread. All Music Guide sums up the record's stylistic and creative accomplishments when referring to the album as, "a work of not only rare charm, but ageless beauty."  

Most recently, Railroad Earth has been breaking new ground with studio recordings and live appearances that continue to define them as an integral part of the Americana music scene.  2004's triumphant "The Good Life," the band's second release with Sugar Hill Records, is rich with the musical mélange that only Railroad Earth can create.  Co-produced by the band and Stewart Lerman (Loudon Wainwright III, Dar Williams), the 11-track album "mixes string-band instrumentation, freewheeling improvisation and folk-rock songwriting with contagious enthusiasm," according to the Washington Post.   Not to be outdone by their studio work, putting the band squarely into the public eye was a series of appearances with nationally recognized acts, such as Phil Lesh and Friends.  

Blessed with an inherent musical connection that cannot be learned, but only nurtured and nourished, Railroad Earth does just that at its over 100 live shows every year.  The band's growing legions of fans complete the live experience, and are so dedicated to crisscrossing the country that they have earned themselves an aptly-termed moniker: hobos.

Purveyors of music that must be heard to be truly felt, Railroad Earth creates music that speaks to the poet in all of us.  This is music to live your life to.  This is the music inside all of us. This is Railroad Earth.


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Phil Lesh Joins Railroad Earth in San Francisco

Railroad Earth

Railroad EarthOver the past two years Railroad Earth has carved a path wide and deep throughout the American roots music scene. Right from their first gigs in May 2001, to their most recent shows for a growing legion of loyal fans, Railroad Earth has been an undeniable force whose superb songwriting, singing and performances from the stage have made them one of the most talked about bands to arrive in years.

It could be said that Railroad Earth hit the scene with their wheels already rolling. Just three weeks after the six band members jammed together for the very first time, they went into a local recording studio and laid down five songs, recorded live with no overdubs except backing vocals. It was that remarkable demo that set everything in motion. Within a week they had a manager on board who then sent their demo out to some of the country's most prestigious festivals. There wasn't even a promo photo of the band. Yet, on the strength of that demo alone, they landed a slot on the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. That was their tenth gig. To help get their music out to the public, their manager suggested they return to the studio and record another five songs, exactly the same way, and release the ten demo tracks as their debut album. "The Black Bear Sessions" came out in June 2001, just before the Telluride Festival. The album received critical raves and opened doors to many other festivals and venues around the country. In addition, following their triumphant performance at Telluride 2001, the legendary Sugar Hill Records approached the band and offered them a record deal right on the spot. In June 2002, one year from the release of their debut, Railroad Earth's second album, "Bird in a House" came out on Sugar Hill Records. After a year of steady touring and strong sales of their debut album, the anticipation was high for "Bird in a House." And the album lived up to it, receiving high critical praise from the press and their fans, and showing strong steady sales throughout the U.S. and Europe.

With nearly 400 shows and tens of thousands of road miles now behind them, Railroad Earth has become a staple on the national touring and festival scene, and built a huge following of loyal fans that document and trade every note they play, and often join them on the road for multiple nights. These fans call themselves "Hobos," and the band considers them to be the fuel that keeps this engine chugging along. Railroad Earth's next album is planned for release in Spring 2004. Till then the band will continue to bring their music to the stage from East to West. So keep an ear to the ground and listen for Railroad Earth, because they'll be rolling through your town very soon.