A band, a show, a song………….This is how I’m going to try and explain
“Cosmic Railroad” to you. Although, it is almost impossible to do so if
you haven’t experienced the band for yourself.
First, “Cosmic Railroad” is a jam band based out of southeastern
Wisconsin. The band was born sometime in 1999 (give or take a year or
two in either direction). As the story goes, all the guys in “Cosmic
Railroad” were involved with their own respected bands. These bands
would book shows together from time to time. You know, one band opening
the night and the other band closing the night. On occasion they would
hook up at the end of the show for third set jam session. The jam
session consists of everybody from both bands at once. Sometimes you
would have four guitar players, two bass players, two drummers, a
percussionist and a whole slue of singers all at once, on stage,
throwing it down. This is when the idea of “Cosmic Railroad” was
As word got out about the two bands doing a third set jam session it
started to grow. At first, the bands would cover a lot of tunes from
“The Grateful Dead, Phish, Dylan, etc” (which is where some of the
tunes that they do today came from). Then, as things started to take
off even more the bands thought it would be a good idea to learn each
other's songs, so they didn’t always have to play cover tunes when they
got together. Over time, they did away with the other bands and started
just to book shows as “Cosmic Railroad”. This is where we are today.
The band has settled in on three guitars players, two drummers and one
bass player now and looks like they are having fun with that line-up.
As Patrick Fineran from the Journal Times puts it “if you like the
Dead, Phish, older Dave Matthews and bands like that, Greg, Mike, Pete,
Paul, Brandon and Shawn may be what you looking for”. He also adds that
“the Cosmic Railroad has been laying down the deepest hippy groove
since 1999 and it doesn’t look like its going to stop any time soon”.
“Cosmic Railroad” is: Brandon Shilts guitar & vocals, Greg Gierl guitar
& vocals, Pete Rallo guitar & vocal, Mike White drums & stuff, Shawn
Laurence drums & stuff and Paul Aceto bass & vocal.
A “Cosmic Railroad” show is an experience in itself. No one, not even
the band knows what’s going to happen next. They are a true jam band to
say the least. The band plays from the seat of their pants night after
night. As Mike Fillipane from the Other Side says, “it’s so nice to
finally see a quote un-quote jam band that can actually jam”.
The show will usually start with a crowd favorite just to get everyone
moving or at least thinking that they’re moving. After that, who knows?
The band leaves up the moment to pick the next song. This is where you
can see their mastery. As the night moves on, they continue to pick up
steam, and things really start to roll. A “Cosmic Railroad” show
usually lasts up to three or four hours straight so when they hit their
stride, it’s gone.
Some where in he middle of the show the songs let the drummers take
over (hope you packed your flashback). Once done, it rolls into a solo
song section done by one of the guitar players. This gives the drummers
a little break to regroup. After a song or two the remaining band
members start to move back into position. - - - All Aboard! Back on the
train we go to the final destination.
“Cosmic Railroad” is considered an original jam band. Mostly, the songs
that you would hear at a “Cosmic Railroad” show are just that,
original. The band uses these songs as a jumping off points, sometimes
taking them into very different directions from the last time it may
have been played. Other times, who knows?
“Cosmic Railroad” Thanks everyone for their support and hopes everyone
enjoys the ride with them.