Remembering Andy Goessling: Rehearsing ‘Railroad Earth’ Before Final Concert With Band

Watch Andy Goessling rehearse "Railroad Earth" ahead of his final concert with the band on August 28, 2018.

By Nate Todd Oct 12, 2021 10:10 am PDT

Railroad Earth multi-instrumentalist Andy Goessling sadly died on this date in 2018 from cancer at the far too early age of 59. Goessling was born on February 5, 1959 in Mendham, New Jersey the seventh of nine children. Andy’s family was a musical one and his mother gave him a zither, akin to the autoharp, as a child and he also soaked up the guitar playing of his brother Dave.

Goessling continued to add instruments to his repertoire by taking up woodwinds — clarinet, saxophone and oboe — in the fourth grade. In his teenage years, Andy picked up guitar, mandolin, banjo and dobro making him an in-demand player in the musically fertile Long Valley, New Jersey area. Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone, who began playing with Andy in the late ‘70s with The Blue Sparks From Hell, said of Goessling in remembrance after his passing, “If it had strings or you blew through it, he could probably play it.”

Carbone, who is no slouch as a multi-instrumentalist himself but is perhaps most well-known for his fiddle playing in RRE, went on to tell a story related to him by Andy about the violin:

“One of my favorite stories Andy told me was about him bringing home a violin he bought at a secondhand store,” Carbone shared. “He’d be in his room day after day trying to play it until one day his mom knocked on the door and said, ‘Andy, I think this might be one instrument you can’t play.’ Lucky me!”

Tim says “lucky me” because he may have been out of a job in Railroad Earth if Andy had stuck with the violin. Carbone and Goessling helped found RRE in 2000 along with frontman and guitarist Todd Sheaffer, mandolinist John Skehan and drummer Carey Harmon among others with current bassist Andrew Altman joining in 2010. Andy’s prowess would help Railroad become a cornerstone band in the jamgrass scene.

Goessling shared his gift with Railroad Earth and their fans up until his death on Octobr 12, 2018. On August 26, 2018 Andy played with his beloved band for the last time in Norwalk, Connecticut. RRE would get together to rehearse before the show and a portion of the session was captured for posterity.

In honor of Andy Goessling, watch him rehearsing Railroad Earth’s namesake song ahead of his last performance with the band in 2018:


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