New take on how the West was won with pure melody

The Railsplitters are (from left) Leslie Ziegler, Pete Sharpe, Lauren Stovall, Dusty Rider and Christine King.
The Railsplitters are (from left) Leslie Ziegler, Pete Sharpe, Lauren Stovall, Dusty Rider and Christine King.
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ALBUM REVIEW: The Railsplitters RS, Swingfingers Studio, available from http://www.therailsplitters.com/shop/

In years to come, Spaldonians will remember where they were when The Railsplitters came to town and left a sound of bluegrass ringing through Market Place.

Three years before their triumphant show at South Holland Centre on April 7, the Colorado-based, cutting edge group of musicians brought out their debut album where the band’s name was abbreviated to RS.

Country and western fans were in heaven when the first two tracks, Jackson Town and Boarding Pass (written by bango player Dusty Rider on a flight from Alaska to Colorado) kept to the traditional sound of bluegrass.

But then The Railsplitters have what Fleetwood Mac would call a “Go Your Own Way” moment with the genre-redefining My World, a song that lead singer Lauren Stovall has admitted was the band’s moment to turn “New-Grass”.

Throw in the instrumental Evil Apple, almost orchestral Longs Peak, electro-fused Room at the Top of the Stars and Gordon Giltrap-inspired Spray and you get an American band who want to be unashemedly counter-cultural.

We thought the name, The Railspltters, had a nice ring to it, they called Abe Lincoln the “Original Railsplitter” and we felt that with bluegrass being such American music, it went hand-in-hand with it

Lauren Stovall, lead vocalist and guitarist, The Railsplitters

During The Railsplitters’ visit to Spalding, lead singer Lauren Stovall said: “The name of the band is something our bass player (Leslie Ziegler) came up with.

“She grew up in Michigan and it was a neighbouring school’s mascot there, so after we had been tossing names around for a few days, Leslie said The Railsplitters (as a name for the band).

“We thought it had a nice ring to it and then we checked it out to see what it means.

“A railsplitter is someone who chops wood for fencing (also a nickname for President Abraham Lincoln) and it’s kind of an all-American sort of term and they called Abe Lincoln the “Original Railsplitter”.

“It’s got this nice little American theme to it and we felt that with bluegrass being such American music, it went hand-in-hand with it.”

The Railsplitters right on track to set benchmark for bluegrass after Spalding show

Review and interview by Winston Brown