Todd Sheaffer and Friends @ The Fountain House 02.13.2010

Todd Sheaffer and Friends @ The Fountain House 02.13.2010

I have been back in the states for a month and two weeks.  I have been itching to go to a show.  My first show was going to be very important to me because I was just diagnosed with cancer.  I haven’t really done much since I have been diagnosed.  I have had some friends stop on over, but I have not gone out with this condition.  Its like I am a different person now having cancer.  I know I have this thing, but no one else knows.  Hobos are the die hard fans for the group Railroad Earth and I expected to see some of them at this show.  I was nervous.  If I run into someone at the show, how do I share the news.  What do I say?  Honestly, I tried to avoid many people because I did not want to have that conversation.  I am at this concert and everyone is having a happy time and I don’t want to bust this news on anyone.  I was excited to be going to my first concert in 8 months, but nervous to run into people I know.

Todd is the lead singer of Railroad Earth.  For all of you that might not know, Railroad Earth is my favorite band these days.  I heard that Todd’s friends were going to be members of Railroad Earth.  One of them was John Skehan, who plays the mandolin and bouzouki.  The other friend was Johnny Grubb, who plays the bass.  Grubb just recently announced that he would no longer be apart of Railroad Earth.  I was saddened when I heard this news because he was a great bassist and always looked like he was having a great time on stage with the band.  This was a great chance for me to see him one last time with some of the RRE crew.

I asked my uncle Chris and aunt Patti to come to the show with Anna and myself.  Chris and Patti are big Todd fans, so I knew that they would want to go.  All four of us headed out around 7:30.  The venue was in the middle of the woods in western New Jersey.  The Fountain House is an old house that does not look like any kind of bar.  In the back of this house was the small bar.  The stage was small with a big banner of hearts in the background.  The place was packed with probably 100 people at the bar.  What I loved about this show was the variety of songs Todd sang.  It wasn’t just all RRE earth songs, but really good covers or songs from Todd’s other band, From Good Homes.  ”Bright Side of the Road,” is a Van Morrison song and I know this song because of the Jerry Garcia Band covering it.  It was great to hear another version of this song.  ”Donkey for Sale,” was another highlight for me.  I have only heard this song once before at a RRE show at the Stone Pony.  Another reason I enjoy this song is because it is a New Jersey song and I love NJ. I thoroughly enjoy this song.  Its an up tempo song and I really enjoy the vibe this song puts out.  The absolute highlight of the first set to me was “Peggy-O.”  This version rivals most of the Jerry versions I have heard.  I just loved Todd’s take on this classic.  Todd sang it beautifully and gave it justice.  The setlist does not say say it, but I am pretty sure there was a “Little Bit O’ Me,” in the first set.  The connection that these three friends have are tight.  It really shows on songs that they have all made together like the song I just mentioned.

The second set opened up with a dedication to Papa Phil.  Papa Phil is the main roadie for the band.  He puts out setlists, tunes up instruments, and really runs the behind scene.  He just had surgery for prostate cancer and my thoughts and prayers goes out to him.  I am going through a similar situation, so I know what he is going through.  ”RV,” was the song they played and is a song about a couple whose kids are all grown up and they finally go on a road trip in an RV.  I love Todd’s voice in the song because it is like he is channeling Johnny Cash’s voice.  The highlight of the second set was the instrumental version of “1759.”  Skehan was playing his bouzouki.  The bouzouki is an irish mandolin.  When John plays it, he makes it sound like a couple people playing multiple instruments instead of the one bouzouki.  This song just rocks and the sound was so full.

Set One:
Said What You Mean
Bright Side of the Road
Donkey for Sale
Comin On Home
Giving Tree
I’ve Endured
Peggy O
Real Love

Set Two:
RV
Everything Comes Together
I Only Want
Where Did The Time Go
Girl From The North Country
Lois Ann
Mary Don’t You Weep
1759
Lovin You
Right In Tune
E: Walls of Time