Violinist and sometimes guitarist and accordionist Tim Carbone of the band Railroad Earth says he credits a girl for his career in the music business.
"When I was in fourth grade I had a crush on this girl," said Carbone during an interview from the band's stop in St. Louis. "In the public school we went to, we could choose an instrument at the end of fourth grade and start playing it when we returned for fifth grade after summer vacation.
"I liked this girl, and she wanted to play violin, too. So, I chose it and waited all summer so I could be in the same music class with her. But when I returned to school the next season, I found she had moved away and never saw her again."
Still, Carbone didn't let the blues get the better of him. He began playing violin and found it came somewhat easily to him.
In 2001, Carbone joined guitarist/vocalist Todd Sheaffer, mandolinist John Skehan, multi-instrumentalist Andy Goessling, drummer Carey Harmon and bassist Dave von Dollen. Von Dollen was eventually replaced by Johnny Grubb.
"We originally started out to see how our music would catch on," Carbone said of Railroad Earth's acoustic jamband style. "But we pretty much let the music guide where the band was going. And we still do."
For the past seven years, the band has been making music, recording CDs and traveling the country.
"We all have a sense of each other's playing technique," Carbone said. "There is always a (musical) conversation on stage."
Like a lot of bands on tour, one of the hardest things about being musicians is balancing personal and professional lives, Carbone said. "It's hard for the fathers to be away from the families. But we know that playing music is the way to support our families. We aren't at the point where we can solely support ourselves by CD sales alone. So, the live shows are an important part of our career."
Still, Carbone said he loves playing live and connecting with his audience.
"There's something about putting music to Todd's lyrics and making it work," he said. "And we have seen quite a few examples of the positive effect the music has on people. We get e-mails and messages all the time telling us what our songs mean to someone."
Last week, Railroad Earth added a bunch of new songs to people's lives with the release of the new CD "Amen Corner."
"We rented out a 300-year-old house and did it there," he said. "We were all in different rooms and devised a good monitor system. It was a house that Todd used to live in. So, it was comfortable and was located in the woods."
Musician placement throughout the house was a task, Carbone said. "We had to put Carey's drums in a place where the sound could be isolated. We couldn't put him in a room where his drums would bleed into the other rooms' microphones.
"And we were concerned that we couldn't see each other while we were playing, like we have in past recording sessions. But we thought about the process and realized that we don't look at each other a lot while we play. So, after a couple of takes, it was good. And the monitoring system helped with our communication."
The recording session took part of December and January. And since the band rented the house, there was no hourly charge on studio time."We wrote, rehearsed, recorded, reviewed and rewrote in the house," Carbone said. "And that's how it was done."
If you go
What: Railroard Earth
Where: The Paladium, 415 W. 600 North
When: Monday, 9 p.m.
How much: $16
Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499Web: www.smithstix.com
E-mail: [email protected]