CONCERT REVIEW: Band with its own take on bluegrass thrive in their element

SOMETHIN' SWEET: The Railsplitters played in front of a receptive and appreciative Spalding audience on Thursday night. Photo by Cary Jobe.

The Railsplitters at South Holland Centre, Thursday, February 8

Almost two years after winning over a Spalding audience with their divergent brand of bluegrass with something added, The Railsplitters were at it again on Thursday night,

With material from three albums to choose from, the five-piece band from Colorado prioritised their newest offering, Jump In, in an effort to show how things have changed since their last concert here in April 2016.

Gone are double bassist Leslie Ziegler and fiddle player Christine King, replaced by Jean-Luc Davis and charismatic addition Joe D’Esposito who was almost as “off the cuff” as lead singer Lauren Stovall predicted he would be.

But the most important element to the concert was the music, with Lessons I’ve Learned, Everyone She Meets and To Do all showing the band’s fearlessness in setting their audience thought-provoking questions.

Having said that, banjo player Dusty Rider and mandolin magician Pete Sharpe did more than enough to ensure that The Railsplitters kept firmly within their bluegrass base, along with the unmistakeable Deep South vocals of Lauren herself.

The sound of the South came out most clearly during Boarding Pass, Tilt-a-Whirl and the “bluegrass police-friendly” Jackson Town.

But the highlight of the night for some was Joe’s eye-opening, heart-wrenching Boy of Five inspired by his own walk along the coast of Oregon where a youngster invited him to look across the Pacific Ocean coast and see its wide expanse.

The Railsplitters are welcome in Spalding anytime.

Review by Winston Brown

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