It has been just over six months since the release of Railroad Earth’s debut album, The Black Bear Sessions, and fans of the band’s unique blend of bluegrass, folk and rock have made the critically acclaimed album one of the hottest new releases on the touring and festival circuit. In the eight months since Railroad Earth debuted in their hometown of Stanhope, NJ, they’ve successfully built a huge nationwide buzz and rapidly growing fan base through steady touring and high-profile performances at festivals such as: Telluride Bluegrass Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Harvest Fest and many others. And the train just keeps rolling in 2002 with scheduled performances at MerleFest 2002, Falcon Ridge Festival, a return to Telluride Bluegrass and countless others. In addition, The Black Bear Sessions has become one of the most featured albums on bluegrass and jam oriented radio programs around the US, and has been added in heavy rotation to XM Satellite Radio. MTV’s popular Real World program has licensed the entire record for use in upcoming episodes, and popular online zine The Music Box just named Railroad Earth’s debut as one of the 20 best albums of 2001!

Even before Railroad Earth played their first gig in May 2001, a small group of local fans started a strong buzz based on a five-song demo the band had recorded live in a friend’s studio. Within days of leaking the demo, fans set up download sites and began spreading the word on internet message boards and discussion groups. While the buzz continued to build, the band recorded another five songs and released all ten as The Black Bear Sessions just in time for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. There they sold hundreds of discs after flooring festivarians with a stellar main-stage performance and great reviews of their show. By the time the band hit California’s High Sierra Festival in July, they had become the most anticipated new band to see and drew thousands to their three performances.

Needless to say, record companies, stunned by the fever-pitch buzz so early in the band’s existence, began courting Railroad Earth. This past Fall, the band signed with bluegrass powerhouse Sugar Hill Records and shortly thereafter began work on their next album. Meanwhile, demand for The Black Bear Sessions remains high, with hundreds of copies being sold each month via the website and at their live shows. And because Railroad Earth allows taping at all their shows, a nationwide tape-trading community has emerged, with fans collecting and cataloging all of their performances.

As the touring continues, so does the remarkable rise of a band that began jamming in a barn only a few months ago and now appears poised for unbelievable heights. Look for Railroad Earth to roll into your town.

Railroad Earth Tour Dates


[Published on: 2/11/02]

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