When Railroad Earth started out in 2001, they were a bunch of guys interested in playing acoustic instruments together. As Railroad Earth violin/vocalist Tim Carbone recalls, “All of us had been playing in various projects for years, and many of us had played together in different projects. But this time, we found ourselves all available at the same time.”
Over a couple of months, the band started working on some original songs, as well as playing some covers that they thought would be fun to play. Shortly thereafter, they took five songs from their budding repertoire into a studio and knocked out a demo in just two days. Their soon-to-be manager sent that demo to a few festivals, and – to the band’s surprise – they were booked at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival before they’d even played their first gig.
That was the beginning of Railroad Earth’s journey: since those early days, they’ve gone on to release five more critically acclaimed studio albums and one hugely popular live album called, “Elko”. They’ve also amassed a huge and loyal fan base that turn up to support them in every corner of the country.
We got the chance to speak with Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth about band’s upcoming performance in Atlanta with Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers. Check it out!
Are you guys excited to be going on tour with Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers?
Oh yeah, it’s going to be awesome! We are super psyched, which is really cool because they are psyched about doing it with us too, so it will be a good time.
Have you guys ever done anything with them before?
We did a show with them about 4 years ago in Philadelphia outdoors at the Patriots Plaza, I think, right by the river. That was when I first became a fan of Bruce. We also did Jam Cruise with him, which is where we had our up close and personal experience with him.
What has been your most memorable gig to play or venue to play at?
For me, I would say my favorite indoor venue to play is the Fillmore in San Francisco. My favorite outdoor venue to play is Red Rocks, which we will be playing there soon. We are super excited about that and a little nervous at the same time. And my favorite festival, if I had to choose, would be an awesome music festival in Japan just because it was such a cool and unusual experience.
Do you prefer playing at an outdoor venue or an indoor venue?
They are so different and all fun in their own ways I don’t know if I could say that I favor one over the other. I think if you would have asked me this nine years ago I think I would have told you I enjoy playing outdoor events.
Do you guys have any pre-show rituals?
Not really, what we do is usually in sound check where we try to find clever ways to get from one song to the other. We almost always do that. The only other thing that resembles a ritual is that our stage manager always asks us before going on stage, “Are you fired up?”
What is your favorite thing about being on tour?
I would say getting to experience different cities. I usually like to get out and take a long walk if it’s weather permitting.
Have you had one really strange fan encounter that has a funny story behind it?
Well, lets see. We had one guy way back, I think it was at our 100th show in NYC. We have a friend of ours who is a huge fan and he decided to send a hummer limousine to pick us up from the sound check and take us to some place for food and cocktails. Then during the show we did a song called “Black Bear”, and little did we know, he hired a guy in a black bear suit to come out on stage during the song. After the song, the guy would not leave for the rest of the show. It was kind of strange.
Do you have three songs that you are currently listening to on repeat?
I do. It’s funny that you should ask this question. Long story, but I met a guy named Scott Miller a while back and I just recently found out he passed. Scott Miller played with a band called Loud Family, so I’ve been playing 3 or 4 of his songs a lot lately. One of them is called “Jimmy’s on Drugs Again” and another one is called “I Didn’t Spot the Setup.”
What is Railroad Earth’s future plans as a band?
The record that we just tracked is being mixed right now. We are hoping to have it all done and released sometime early next year.
Railroad Earth will be performing alongside Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers at the Atlanta Botanical Garden Saturday, August 10th! To see this stellar combo live grab your tickets below!