Bassist Johnny Grubb played his final show with Railroad Earth on New Year’s Eve. The show took place at Portland, OR’s Aladdin Theatre and featured an extended three-set performance. String Cheese Incident’s Keith Moseley, who plays with Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone in The Contribution, will play bass with the group on Jam Cruise.
During Railroad Earth’s second set on December 31, the ensemble covered Neil Young’s classic “Comes a Time” for the first time. Midnight fell at the start of the band’s third set and, after a festive countdown, the group busted into “Bird in a House,” the title-track to its 2002 release. The rest of Grubb’s final set with Railroad Earth consisted of the Grateful Dead’s “The Wheel,” “Old Man and the Land,” “Moonshiner” and “Railroad Earth.” The group returned for a two song encore consisting off “Little Rabbit” and the debut cover of Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.”
Railroad Earth played a few shows leading up to New Year’s Eve, including gigs at San Francisco’s The Fillmore on December 27 and 28. Hot Buttered Rum opened and, on December 27, Hot Buttered Rum’s Erik Yates played alto saxophone on “Like a Buddha” and New Monsoon’s Jeff Miller—who is also a member of the abovementioned Contribution—sat in on a show-closing “I’m a Mess.” Yates returned the following night with HBR fiddler Aaron Redner for “Hard Livin’” at the top of the band’s first set, while Miller played guitar on “Head.” In addition, Railroad Earth multi-instrumentalist Andy Goessling joined Hot Buttered Rum for “Beneath the Blossoms” on December 27, while Railroad Earth frontman Todd Shaeffer emerged to play “RV” with the band on December 28.