Railroad Earth rolls into The Peach Festival
We’ve been just rolling along,” said John Skehan, Railroad Earth’s mandolinist and vocalist. “We are into our festival portion of the year and hopping around all over the country.” Railroad Earth is winding down its summer festival journey that included the Mighty High Mountain Fest, DelFest, Wakarusa, High Sierra Music Festival, All Good Festival and this weekend’s Peach Festival hosted by the Allman Brothers. The band will perform on the Mushroom Stage on Saturday night at 8 p.m.
Best known for their songwriting skills, tight improvisation and lengthy jams, the New Jersey sextet is able to pick form a bushel of different styles and genres to build their own brand of music. The group demonstrates a heavy dose of traditional bluegrass with a jam band feel, but also blends folk, Celtic, jazz, and rock influences into the mix. The band started as a group of friends playing music in the New Jersey and Pocono areas, but has since evolved into a popular touring act that seldom gets to play for their adoring local audience.
“It’s great because we don’t get to play in our home area all that often,” Skehan said. “That area does feel close to home for us. Aside from our annual Thanksgiving performance in Stroudsburg at the Sherman Theater, we haven’t had that much chance to play a large event in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. The Peach Festival is certainly a little closer to the area that we call home. It’s going to be great to play a large event there. Anytime you are doing anything with the Allman Brothers, it’s wonderful.”
When asked about the idea of The Allmans bringing a large festival to the region, Skehan sees the event as a positive step in the right direction.
“It’s good to see larger things happening around the area,” Skehan said. “Considering we run all across the country, it doesn’t seem like there have been that many festivals in the northern New Jersey or Pennsylvania areas, so it’s good to have something growing like that. It’s also great to see those younger bands getting a chance to participate in something like that.”
After years on the road touring the nation and countless shows, Skehan sees the maturation that Railroad Earth has gone through and looks forward to what the future may hold for the band on and off the stage.
“We have gotten more confident in the sense of playing live and taking chances. During the time playing together, I think we consciously and subconsciously decided to step out and take more chances. We’re blending the new material with the old and finding new transitions and segues and places to go. Playing live and building that confidence and the understanding that everybody plays, it really has allowed us to go in a lot of new places very effortlessly at times.”
When it comes to The Peach Festival, Railroad Earth is looking forward to the experience. “Anything hosted by the Allmans that close to home is going to be great,” Skehan said. “We recently got to play with them at the All Good Festival and they were firing on all cylinders.”
— tom graham
Railroad Earth is Todd Sheaffer (Lead vocals, acoustic guitars), Tim Carbone (Violin, vocals), John Skehan (Mandolin, vocals), Andy Goessling (Acoustic guitars, banjo, dobro, mandolin, flute, pennywhistle, saxophones and vocals), Carey Harmon (Drums, hand percussion, vocals) and Andrew Altman (Upright bass). For more information, visit www.railroadearth.com.