IOWA CITY — The ultimate compliment for a jam band is a comparison to the Grateful Dead.
Members of Railroad Earth, a bluegrass-leaning jam band from Stillwater, N.J., are getting used to popping up in the same sentence as Jerry Garcia’s celebrated group.
In 2006, following the release of Railroad Earth’s “Elko” live album, Rolling Stone magazine said the band combines “the genre purity of Garcia’s 1975 mountain-music project, Old and in the Way, with the elastic instrumental alchemy of the Grateful Dead.”
“We’re big fans of the Grateful Dead, and in some ways I think the comparison is justified,” says John Skehan, Railroad Earth’s mandolin player. “The Grateful Dead always had a strange and haunting quality to its music, and I think we have that, too.”