1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is all ages
Railroad Earth's music is driven by the remarkable songs of front-man, Todd Sheaffer, and is delivered with seamless arrangements and superb musicianship courtesy of all six band members. They can jam with the best of them, but they're not a jam band. They're bluegrass influenced, but they use drums and amplifiers (somewhat taboo in the bluegrass world). RRE bristles about being lumped into any one "scene." Not out of animosity for any other artists: it's just that they don't find the labels very useful. According to fiddle player Tim Carbone, "We use unique acoustic instrumentation, but we're definitely not a bluegrass band – so that doesn't fit. And I think the term 'jam band' probably refers more to the fans than to the band. I think these fans just like live music." When the band does elect to "comment" on a song via an extended improvisation, they really cook – and have received the approval of no less than Grateful Dead bass player Phil Lesh, who knows a thing or two about jamming.
Amen Corner (SCI Fidelity Records, June 2008), the band's fourth studio album, was written and recorded in the winter of 2007 at Sheaffer's 300-year old farmhouse in the rural New Jersey countryside. Compared to the sterility and stress of a commercial studio—where the cost-clock ticks and the pressure of performing under a budget looms large—recording at home is like heaven on earth… and Amen Corner captures that feeling from beginning to end. "Normally," Sheaffer explains, "you come home after six weeks on the road and jump into the studio, all frazzled because you don't have much left in the tank. This time I feel like we've invited our friends into our living room and that's basically how we recorded it." Amen Corner may be the early creative pinnacle of a gifted young band, and has all the makings of an Americana classic. It's a collection of crisp and crafted Americana and acoustic roots sides that resonate in all the right places.
"Even in the new millenium, Railroad Earth's instantly classic sounding songs and timeless vocals could sound at home in any generation."
(Felton Pruitt - XM Satellite Radio)
Since 2007, American Babies has been the mouthpiece for Philadelphia based musician Tom Hamilton. After spending the early 2000s building a national fan base fronting the electro-rock band Brothers Past, releasing two critically acclaimed albums, and averaging 150 shows a year, a change was in order. "Musically, I wanted to get back to the basics" he explains, "Get the song right, first. Then worry about the live show and how the music opens up from there."
Hamilton went back to his roots, rediscovering the Outlaw Country, Motown, and Grateful Dead records he grew up with, and assembled a pool of musicians to pull from for recording sessions and live performances. After two full-length LPs, an EP, and three years of touring, the American Babies are hitting their stride. The live band has been solidified with David Butler (Lee "Scratch" Perry) on drums, Adam Flicker (The Brakes) on keys, and Nick Bockrath (Nico's Gun) on bass. The band has shared the bill with numerous like minded acts such as Derek Trucks, Sheryl Crow, Umphrey's McGee, Railroad Earth, and The National to name a few.
Hamilton entered a Philadelphia studio in January of 2013 to start work on what has become the Babies' third long-player "Knives and Teeth" (via The Royal Potato Family). When asked to describe his new record, his answer is short and compact but, like his lyrics, is loaded with deeper meaning: "It's a 40-minute existential meltdown."
"When you're in your 20's," he says, "you worry or focus on things that don't seem to maintain their importance as you get older. Chicks, partying, finding a place. Shit, all of my albums back then were about girls, in one way or another. Then you grow up and you realize none of it actually matters, so you dig deeper. I spent a lot of time with some activist friends and the Occupy movement. That pushed some buttons but, I kept digging. Then I had a couple of close friends pass away within a few months of each other and that made me really dig in. I started to think about my own mortality. Reconsidering what was really important to me."
Throughout the course of the album, from the Lou Reed-inspired "This Thing Ain't Going Nowheres" to the inspired punk energy of "Bullseye Blues" to the head-shaking acceptance of "Goddamn," Knives & Teeth speaks of fragility, cruelty, frustration, and the search for what makes a life worth living.
Tom and company will be taking American Babies' re-energized live show back to the road this fall, and all through 2014.
Wed, December 17
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