Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lord, I'm a Fool for an Old School Freight Train

Looking for Ben Harper on Grooveshark during work the other day, I stumbled upon Old School Freight Train, a seismic, otherworldly bluegrass band that has literally left me with an unquenchable thirst for more. Alas, this band is the J.D. Salinger of the Interweb, and seems to have disappeared circa 2006 with their last album Six Years. I seek in nooks and crannies for the last droplet of information in the canteen and come up parched.

Things we know:
The band formed in 2003 in Charlottesville, VA.
The lead vocalist and guitarist's name was Jesse Harper.
They may have toured with Josh Ritter, which makes them 700 times cooler than they are already.
They covered Ben Harper and Coldplay in CMH's Pickin' On series.
And. The band is the smoothest fucking bottle rocket of bluegrass I've ever heard.

The Pickin' On series was an idea drummed up by CMH Records's David Haerle (son to co-founder Martin Haerle) where bluegrass bands paid tribute to well-established rock, pop, and country groups. But, contrary to the series' name, there's no heckling or noogies -- it's pure idolatry to the musicians and bands they riff on. How can a cover take you to a new place? you ask. It's a cover -- it's recycling, rehashing. The answer is OSFT, who cover Ben Harper and Coldplay better than Ben Harper and Coldplay could cover themselves, and in a sixth dimension -- another realm. The melodies are larger than life and crescendo up and down like a catarata; spine-tingling and mystical. These are instrumentals, I might add, which is even greater adversity training and deserves bigger props for the successfully beautiful sounds.

Once clicked, OSFT's official page (according to Wikipedia) brings you to a site with a big picture of marshmallows. So, where did you go Old School Freight Train? This girl wants to know. And also wants a smore.

For the real deal, go to and check out OSFT Pickin' On Series: Pickin' On Ben Harper. Tracks "The Woman in You" and "With my Own Two Hands" = divine.

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