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Railroad Earth Stays On Rootsy Track

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, October 30, 2009

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Railroad Earth is looking forward to “the big Halloween bash” this weekend at the Royal Oak Music Theatre. But don’t expect to see the New Jersey roots rock sextet in costume.

“That hasn’t come into debate yet,” says mandolinist John Skehan. “We abandoned that idea a little while ago, really; if anything, it becomes awkward to perform in our monkey suits or whatever. Hopefully there’ll be enough musical Halloween costumes going on so we won’t be dressing up in our physical costumes.”

Railroad Earth’s heavily improvised shows ensure that the group’s songs do take on new guises over the course of an evening, and Skehan, 39, says the material from “Amen Corner,” the band’s 2008 album and first new studio set in four years, has been taking on “different characters, different lives” since Railroad Earth took it on the road. And, he adds, those experiments have led to fresh song ideas and a resolve to get the group back into the studio in the near future.

“There’s a couple of instrumentals in particular we’ve been really working on,” he says, “one that’s really kind of a collective composition — it started with an idea of mine but the band has fleshed it out. And there’s another that came about actually before the ‘Amen Corner’ sessions and now goes by ‘The Happy Song.’

“Hopefully, we’re kind of zeroing in soon to delve into that project. Typically, we come to the end of the year and it’s time to slow down a little bit once you get into the dark weather months. So maybe that will let us find a situation to start putting these ideas down on tape.”

Railroad Earth performs Saturday (Oct. 31) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day of show. Call (248) 399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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