Interview: Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth on touring, his first show and more

Americana and rock band Railroad Earth began in 2001 and have steadily earned a large fan base, much critical acclaim and success. Known for their live performances, the band has released seven studio albums, including their most recent Last of the Outlaws. The band also released the concert film Castle Inn Sessions, which was filmed in a cinematic hotel in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania. The band has 35 shows already booked in 2017 and recently performed a sold-out New Year's triple header. AXS.com chatted with Tim Carbone, Railroad Earth accordionist, electric guitarist and violin player, about the band's success, filming, and each of their solo pursuits, in advance of their upcoming performance at Atlanta's Variety Playhouse.

AXS: Of all your excellent album releases, why did you all choose your 2014 album Last of the Outlaws to film some of your favorite cuts? 

Tim Carbone: Well that was the most recent album so we were still pretty stoked about that material. You may have also noticed that there was a string quartet on most of the songs. We chose songs that lent themselves to string arrangements.
 
AXS: You guys have had much success over the years, and have renowned longevity performing. What keeps you all going with music and performing? 
 

TC: We love what we do. Like any other profession that you may be a part of, if you love it, you keep doing it. I think it was Mark Twain who said, "If you do what you love for a living you'll never work a day in your life".

AXS: Each of you guys are known for your solo work. What draws you all to the solo and group aspect of recording music?

TC: Yes, some of us have done solo work and some of us have collaborated with others on records. As an artist I find it invigorating to create with all kinds of people. Recording is one of my favorite things to do. It's very different than playing live. You have more time to create something of permanence and the studio can almost become a partner; a member of the band.

AXS: You guys have a date-filled tour ahead. What's you guys' favorite thing about touring?

TC: Playing for a live audience is always energizing and we have the greatest fans ever! I never get tired of traveling. You find new things out about a city every time you go there and of course there are the "favorite" things you anticipate doing when you return as well.

AXS: Who was your first concert, and who has been your overall favorite?

TC: First real concert not in a club was Jethro Tull at Stony Brook University in 1969. Man, there are so many favorite concerts but if I had to pick one it would be Paul McCartney... no Tom Waits... no Leonard Cohen... no Super Furry Animals... see, I just can't choose.

AXS: Which album was your first on vinyl, cassette and/or CD?

TC: Meet the Beatles. Vinyl.

AXS: Which five bands and/or albums would you not want live without? 

TC: The Beatles, the Band, NRBQ, Duke Ellington, John Adams (modern classical composer)

AXS: If you're a book lover, what was the last great book you read?

TC: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

AXS: What was the last great song you heard?

TC: "You Want It Darker" - Leonard Cohen... spine tingling

For more information and updates, visit Railroad Earth's website here. To purchase tickets to their shows, click here.

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