Showcase Review: Long Steel Rail

Full Disclosure: These guys are friends of mine. I have a soft spot for 1-4-5 country style and honky-tonk music as opposed to the “new-grass” minor chord improvisation that sounds like a band that’s tuning up.

(T)Eric Marshall – Ambrose Verdibello (B)David Gandin – Fooch Fischetti

That being said, Long Steel Rail, a quartet four-some of twin fiddles, pedal steel, telecaster quack, and slap happy walking bass, mandolin, guitars, put on a show that went by all too quickly, with some of the smartest originals that I have heard in a long while. With Eric Rosi-Marshall as front-man vocalist, David Gandin on bass, Ambrose Verdibello on fiddle, telecaster, banjo, and mandolin (who knew he could play all those instruments?) and “Fooch” Fischetti on fiddle and pedal steel played their hearts out on bluegrass, with a welcome (for this guy) touch of electrified twang.

Some people think that bluegrass should be limited to a few bass notes and sprinkled heavily with minor key songs. Not for me. I am from the country side of bluegrass: never too much walking bass, and never too many fiddle kick-offs.

If you like resonator guitar, than you have to love its big brother the pedal steel guitar. It is fascinating watching a master like Fooch get soooo much tone with apparently so little effort. All these guys made their playing seem effortless and, yet, the sound was so full and smile inducing.

It was a welcome breath of fresh air to hear this band push bluegrass back to the the 1950’s. Eric Rosi-Marshall’s original tunes were also a welcome break from the over serious “singer/songwriter” complex tone poems that so quickly fade from memory. His originals were toe-tappin “can’t get that melody out of my mind” kind of songs.

Keep it up guys. I will choose to ride the Long Steel Rail into the sunset anytime you play in the Hudson Valley area.

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