Roots and Americana-based progressive bluegrass jam band Railroad Earth will return to State College on its Winter Tour Thursday with a performance at The State Theatre.
Railroad Earth’s music combines elements of bluegrass, rock ’n’ roll, jazz, Celtic and more. As a group, Railroad Earth refuses to be pigeon-holed into any one musical genre.
“We use unique acoustic instrumentation, but we’re definitely not a bluegrass or country band, which sometimes leaves music writers confused as to how to categorize us,” said Tim Carbone, who is a vocalist and plays violin in the band. “We’re essentially playing rock on acoustic instruments.”
The Stillwater, N.J., band came together for the first time in January 2001. Originally composed of Carbone, Todd Sheaffer, John Skehan, Andy Goessling, Carey Harmon and bassist Dave Von Dollen, the six were brought together by manager Brian Ross, who named the band and assumed management duties prior to their first rehearsals.
An untitled demo recorded live with no overdubs except backing vocals, set Railroad Earth’s career in motion, followed by a slot at Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
Railroad Earth’s debut album, “The Black Bear Sessions,” contains some of the most popular songs in the band’s repertoire, including “Seven Story Mountain,” “Head” and, of course, “Railroad Earth,” penned by Sheaffer.
In January 2014, Railroad Earth released its seventh full-length album, “Last of the Outlaws.” The album aims to stake its claim as a standard in the current Americana folk-pop scene. In the tour that followed, the band headlined Red Rocks for the second time, selling out and with the help of the Mile-High Horns. The result can be seen on the DVD “Live at Red Rocks.”
The members of Railroad Earth have also released numerous solo albums and as a band have recently completed some new material.
“We just finished up an EP that we’re soon releasing,” Carbone said. “So, we’re excited about that.”
Professionally, recording and performing music is how Carbone and his band make a living. For him personally, it’s satisfying because he basically loves what he does.
“I’m a lucky guy to love what I do for a living,” he said. “The goal is creating greater music and playing for as many people as possible — and having a blast doing it.”
Folk and roots rock band David Wax Museum will also perform at the show.
IF YOU GO
- What: Railroad Earth
- When: 8 p.m. Thursday
- Where: The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College
- Info: www.thestatetheatre.org