Railroad Earth at B Chord Brewing in Round Hill Virginia on May 23 2021 by Andrea Flohn
On Sunday, May 23, 2021, Railroad Earth made their final appearance for the weekend at B Chord Brewing Company in Round Hill, Virginia. Although the temperatures had been unseasonably high most of the weekend, Sunday’s show was surely the hottest of the band’s three-night run. The show began an hour earlier than the previous two nights, which meant that fans spent quite a bit of time beneath the early summer rays. The shaded regions of B Chord’s lawn were plentiful with people when we arrived for the final day, and nearly everyone had a beverage close by or mid-way to their lips.
Friends, new and old, greeted one another with slightly damp hugs and slick handshakes. B Chord’s newest mascots, the cicadas of brood X, noisily skittered from their holes to the trees in preparation for the show. The general feeling in the air was one of pure celebration for the return of live music.
Railroad Earth began their Sunday show by paying homage to the weather. “Chasin’ A Rainbow” and “When The Sun Gets In Your Blood,” opened set one, allowing the crowd to grow accustomed to dancing in the heat. “Cold Water,” followed, a regular Railroad dance tune that really got the crowd moving. The band slowed things down for a spell and jammed easily into “The Forecast,” which features some nice interplay between Tim Carbone on fiddle and John Skehan on mandolin, as well as some nice work by Matt Slocum on keys.
“Day On The Sand” and “Only By The Light,” rounded out the set’s warm weather-related tunes, which were followed by a taste of Railroad Earth’s deeper jams. “Fisherman’s Blues,” and “Colorado”. It seemed as though the band had been winding up each member of the crowd like a top, setting them spinning in the sweltering heat. In turn, it felt as though the crowd’s movement and hollering were winding up each member of the band, setting them spinning into musician’s ecstasy.
Todd sounded particularly spirited during “Fisherman’s Blues,” both through his words and guitar. The already sun-kissed crowd drank in the band’s description of Colorado with its “cool rushing waters”. The band ended their first set with “The Great Divide,” allowing everyone to cool down for a moment and sing along with the well-loved and familiar lyrics. The dreamy tune melted into set break, and the band exited the stage seeking air-conditioning and a cool drink. Fans mingled momentarily before spreading out to find their own reprieve from the sun.
After a well-deserved break, the band returned for set two and broke out the dancing tunes right away. “Hard Livin’ “ started things off, followed by “420 Hornpipe,” which features a solo from each member of the band, beginning with Mike Robinson on banjo. “Just So You Know” came next, which approaches with a touch of humor how living life eventually leads to death. “Way of The Buffalo,” which is one of the band’s more bluesy tunes, features Mike Robinson on slide guitar, and preceded “Monkey”. Before letting Matt loose on the keys, Todd said, “This one’s for your dog!” pointing to one fan’s 9-year-old pooch who was there to see his favorite band, Railroad Earth.
As Todd gently riffed into “Everything Comes Together,” the singing cicadas joined in along, building the song to its crescendo with the rest of the band. Fans smiled and cheered as Todd sang, “Aint it sweet when everything comes together?” knowing that we had reached the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel; that everything had “fallen into place” once again for live music. “Seven Story Mountain” marked the longest jam of the night and was certainly a set highlight.
As Carey set the rhythm, the crowd howled into the hazy evening air and prepared for the musical journey they would be taken on. Like many of Railroad’s more extensive jams, “Seven Story Mountain” is constructed slowly by each member and whimsically taken over by one or more musician until the song reaches a peak and moment of silence. The song is slowly regained by Todd’s guitar and built up once again by the band and jammed out beautifully. “Peace on Earth” ended set two, but the band returned for a double encore.
A slow Jerry Garcia Band-Old & In the Way fusion of “Catfish John” was followed by a second encore of “RV”; a nod to the long hours spent in campers that were ahead for many Hobos in attendance. As the band thanked the crowd and left the stage, they were showered with applause. Most of the crowd remained parked in front of the stage howling for more before the house music and lights came on. No one seemed to be able to move their feet. We remained glued to the ground in hopes of just one more return. “Terrapin!” a few fans shouted. “Crickets and cicadas…” a few others sang under their breath.
Though the band did not return for the “Terrapin” we had all hoped for, it only lends more proof to their magical, mystical presence as a group. Eventually, the cluster of fans in front of the stage whittled down to a few stragglers and the B Chord parking lot slowly empty and grew quiet. All except for the cicadas that played their song through the night.
Taped by: Alex Leary
Source: DPA 4023 > Sound Devices MixPre-6 (24/48)
Transfer: MP6 > iMac. Tracked via Sound Studio, FLAC via xACT
Recorded by Alex Leary
- Chasin’ A Rainbow
- When The Sun Gets In Your Blood
- Cold Water
- The Forecast
- Day On The Sand
- Only By The Light
- Fisherman’s Blues
- The Great Divide
- Hard Livin’
- Long Way To Go
- 420 Hornpipe
- Just So You Know
- Way Of The Buffalo
- Everything Comes Together
- Seven Story Mountain
- Peace On Earth
- E: Catfish John
- Third of three-day stand at B Chord Brewing Co.
- Cicada Brood X heard in background.
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