The Railroad Revival tour is being resurrected for 2012, and this year Willie Nelson and Band of Horses are boarding the train. For the unfamiliar, the tour started last year when folk-rock Brits Mumford & Sons, along with L.A.’s Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and New York’s Old Crow Medicine, remembered that tour buses and private jets aren’t the only way to embark on a musical journey.
The three bands harnessed the magic of the U.S. rail system for an eight-day, 2,400-mile concert tour by train—from California to Louisiana. The tour was heralded The Railroad Revival, because it was intent on celebrating the—albeit seldom used—U.S. railway, and urging others to hop on board for their own travels. At each stop, the bands set up a stage, summoned fans to come watch, and delivered an all-out performance in the train station.
Filmmaker Emmett Malloy documented the revolutionary musical adventure, and unveiled his creation, The Big Easy Express, at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival. The film won the Headliner Audience Award, but more importantly left a herd of wishful fans ruing their missed opportunity. Thankfully, the interest provoked a second train tour, and it is coming around the bend October 20-28, 2012. This year, the tour will travel the in the opposite direction, from Duluth, Georgia, to Oakland, California, with the legendary Willie Nelson, Band of Horses, Jamey Johnson, and actor John C. Reilly's band, John Reilly and Friends. In tune with the 2011 tour, fans are welcome to meet the bands at the station or climb aboard and follow the act.
Although fingers are crossed The Railroad Revival will become an annual event, there are no promises. So, take this rare second chance, climb aboard, and follow the new sound of the railway.
Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance writer based in New York City.