Something different

Railroad Earth defies classification


Something about the way Railroad Earth wanders from one musical genre to another makes the band an easy target for comparison. Because the members cannot be quickly slipped into one category, it's easier to point out who they sound like, which changes with every song.

Todd Sheaffer's voice sounds so much like Jerry Garcia, especially when it's backed up by Andy Goessling's mandolin, that the first finger points to the Grateful Dead.

¤ Honky Tonk Homeslice (featuring Billy Nershi of String Cheese Incident) and Railroad Earth

¤ 10 p.m. Tuesday

¤ Levelz in Ski Time Square

¤ $12

¤ 870-9090

Railroad Earth comes from a similar place as the Dead -- an admiration of bluegrass music mixed with jazz-like jams that can extend as long as 15 minutes.

But stop comparing Sheaffer's voice to Garcia and listen to the lyrics, and Railroad Earth seems to come from a much different place.

Songs such as "Long Way to Go" hint at influences such as Gram Parsons, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.

"You could say a lot of things," fiddle player Tim Carbone said. "You could call us a souped-up acoustic band, a bluegrass band with drums, or the comparison I'm fond of is 'what if The Beatles took a wrong turn and ended up in Kentucky.'"


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