Railroad Earth 8.20.13

Riverwalk Center
Breckenridge, CO

Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis

The Jeep headed up the steep inclines of I-70 from Denver through the Eisenhower Tunnel up to Breckenridge. Presumably, the announcement of a free Railroad Earth show would trigger an influx of hippies and spinners to the mountain town, though it was a 5:30 PM show on a Tuesday. We arrived in Breck to clouds but no rain. The town's main street was closed for the USA Pro Challenge and tents lined many of the public areas serving food, beer and displaying a plethora of random sporting gear. We crossed The Blue River onto the property of The Riverwalk Center, which was packed. We passed through the open spaces between blankets and college chairs and into the venue itself which had been overtaken by Railroad fans. The room itself was simple, no major light rig, no flashy props, just the band and a ton of fans, old and young, getting down. Security wandered through the 770 person capacity venue, throwing people out who were smoking and confiscating outside alcohol, while uniformed police officers gathered just outside of the doors. As it was a city-style event, it was assumed that there would be some minimal rules to follow.

In the midst of what was already an energetic and enjoyable set, the band dove into classic after classic. "Jupiter and The 119," "The Forecast," "Seven Story Mountain," "Mighty River" and "Long Way To Go" were all highlights of what was a stellar set. With Todd Sheaffer at the lyrical helm, Tim Carbone, John Skehan and Andy Goessling tossed around solos and melodies that reflected so much skill and even more feel for what fit perfectly into sections that were open to interpretation. Andrew Altman's bass was at times simple, as the music called for, and at times captivating, while Carey Harmon rounded out the rhythm section with expected simplicity. The music poured out of the open garage style doors on to the lawn where New Belgium beer was being served up at the affordable price of $5.00 per sizable cup. After waiting in a long line I purchased a Ranger IPA and a Pumpkick (seasonal pumpkin beer) before heading back inside to catch the tail end of the set. The crowd was ecstatic at the opportunity to see a band of the caliber of Railroad Earth performing a free show on a Tuesday afternoon. "It is Tuesday, right?" we asked one and other out of situational confusion.

Following the two hour set, we stuck around and met up with Tim who gave me some gear to hold on to until his return on September 13th for a show at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver with members of Railroad Earth supporting The Infamous Stringdusters. As we wandered out of the cleared out venue, we glanced down to see that the floor was covered in cups, double shots, and even large bottles of whiskey and other assorted cheap spirits. Folks lingered as we made our way back to the Jeep to head back down to Denver. How lucky we were to live in the mountain state of Colorado, which even on a Tuesday would present incredible musical options. "Colorado... Summertime..."

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