Gary Traylor, songwriter wrote: Outstanding performance !!!
You guys are excellent musicians, entertaining, funny and have excellent songs !!!
I enjoyed every single moment. In my humble opinion you are a National treasure !!!
Michael Hallisey, Spotlight News.com: Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys have a sound of their own, and it’s not bluegrass
SARATOGA SPRINGS-How does a self-proclaimed city boy like Jim Gaudet get himself into bluegrass?
“Boy, that’s an age-old question,” he said as he chuckled.
For starters, it’s not quite bluegrass that he and The Railroad Boys play. It has its similarities. The setup on stage resembles that of a bluegrass band. Gaudet, blessed with the gift of gab, can spin a yarn behind the mic.
Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys sets up like a traditional bluegrass band: As it reads on their website, Gaudet strums the guitar while Sten Isachsen plays mandolin, Bobby Ristau is on the stand-up bass, and Sara Milonovich and Tucket Callander both play the fiddle. But that’s about where the comparisons end.
“The bluegrass world has welcomed us with open arms,” Gaudet said, adding that bluegrass is a love of his. However, with the band’s latest album, he wants to solidify the fact that what they play is hillbilly rock ‘n’ roll. “But I feel almost like an imposter in some ways, because we’re not a traditional bluegrass band.”
Listen to “Johnny Come Lately,” off the group’s 2016 release “When It Rains.” From someone who foolheartedly told bluegrass legend Del McCoury that he couldn’t appreciate the music coming from anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line, I can at least agree that Gaudet doesn’t play bluegrass — I just don’t know how to articulate it, okay. But that’s something novice audience members can determine for themselves by seeing them play Caffé Lena on Saturday, March 5, at 8 p.m.
Lena Spencer’s coffeehouse in Saratoga Springs is a familiar room for the singer-songwriter. His life as a performer started on her stage during an open mic night more than 30 years ago. Sometime after performing a cover of Lefty Frizzell’s “Long Black Veil,” the late owner encouraged him to keep working on his own music.
“Initially, I was scared to death of her,” he said. “As wonderful, warm and engaging as she could be, she could also be tough, too. That’s one of the reasons why I started to write. One of my greatest goals was to perform at Lena’s.”
He started playing guitar while attending school in the late 60s at the University of New England in Maine, pursuing a degree in both sociology and psychology. He befriended a musician who taught him a few chords. From there, he returned home, picked up a mandolin and together with Marty DiGuiseppe, Kevin Furlong and Roger Weiss they formed Lost Country Rounders. They, without an argument, played bluegrass. On his blog, Weiss wrote how they’d play weekly at Reactionary Mary’s before the group disbanded in the late 70s.
Gaudet played around as a solo act throughout the next decade. His songwriting drew inspiration from John Gorka. Gaudet said he was just one of a handful of people who took in Gorka’s performance at Caffé Lena one evening. The Jersey native has since been tied with several prominent artists, released more than a dozen albums, and was tasked by Rolling Stone magazine for leading the New Folk Movement in 1991.
Gaudet was captivated by Gorka’s ability to spin a beautiful tale from what may otherwise be mundane. He contacted Gorka’s booking agency to invite him back for a concert. After he returned, Gorka stayed a few nights with Gaudet and his wife at their home.
“He had some good advice for me,” he said. “Of course, I can’t think of the exact wisdom as we speak. What I loved about him mostly — certainly his voice — but, in his writing, he would write about anything. There were no rules. They weren’t all love songs, and if they were love songs, they were taken in very different angles.”
Gaudet’s journey into hillbilly rock ‘n’ roll started once he recorded a record with Isachsen and Ristau in 2008. It was a comeback of sorts for Gaudet, who after signing a deal with 1-800 Prime CD in the early 90s, sold his guitars to help raise his two young children. The obligation to perform every weekend to support the CD was “overwhelming,” he said. It wasn’t a move he regrets. The early pairing with Isachesen and Ristau would roll into The Railroad Boys shortly after their first record.
Now retired from a career working for the state, Gaudet is regularly performing with The Railroad Boys. Their name has headlined at concert series throughout the region, including Old Songs in Voorheesville and Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill.
In January, he announced his intent to revisit his older work. In an interview with WEXT’s Chris Wienk, he shared a collaboration with Blotto’s Greg Haymes. Haymes, who died in 2019, played harmonica over a track that tells the story of a mysterious person who pays tribute to Edgar Allen Poe on his birthday. Gaudet plans to rerelease music that coincides with a theme. In March, he will revisit one of his earlier songs, “The Irish Boys.”
This week, he and the band return to Caffé Lena, which he said is as “magic as ever.”
“I still envision the old stage and the old set up,” he said. “Sarah Craig, I can’t say enough wonderful things about her, boy. She took it upon herself and worked that whole thing and created a real miracle in keeping that venue alive.”
Joel Patterson, Mountaintop Studios: Hi Jim, A wondrous evening all around, thanks for the thrills and chills!
Here’s a review of Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys @ The Linda, 7-15-21, from Nippertown..
“Authenticity” is a prized commodity, and in such short supply– that’s why when you see it, you’re stunned. That’s also why when you see it in a musical performer, it’s doubly stunning. If it’s a frenzied, dervish song, that’s even better. All of which goes a long way to explaining why Jim Gaudet has been and will always be, as long as he keeps fronting the whiz-kids in the Railroad Boys current incarnation, a mesmerizing performer to watch. He’s a humble guy, perhaps a few steps off-kilter, warmly engaging. He’s absolutely on fire when in the throes of one of his whipsawing tunes, which have a characteristic syncopated, minimalist wordplay: catchy phrases delivered with precise, offhand timing. It’s all kind of the same, but that can be a very good thing. All punchy and pumping and friendly and familiar. He’s got the good sense and grace to sometimes stand back, actually retreating to the rear of the stage, while his stellar henchmen Sten Isachsen and Tucker Callandar duke it out on mandolin and fiddle. With himself on guitar and Bob Buckley sitting in on bass, he’s created an entire complete bluegrass universe, and it is a thrilling place. His loyal fan base needs no prompting to join in the call and response song “So Far So Good,” and his new songs, debuted that night, were every bit the zing-laden equals to his catalog.
On a few rare occasions, he paused as the band wailed on, searching for a lyric that never showed up, only to join in as the chorus came around, and at times his eyes searched off into a glinty distance at the haunted, frightened trees… but at that moment we realized: we are all mortal. This exuberance is always meant to be fleeting and that makes it all the more precious. He’s also got a cardboard sign that wraps around his mic stand, proclaiming the name of his group, in gaudy old fashioned lettering. There’s a deep Americana core angle here. A brand new song about moonshiners outrunning the “revenuers”? Somehow this profoundly retro reference fit right in. For a brief moment, we believe we’re in a juke joint, it might be the 1930’s, and this haggard man before us is a road-weary vagabond. The real deal!
Ron Kodish, Smoked Country Jam Bluegrass Festival: Jim Gaudet is a story telling songwriter, who is second to none. The Railroad Boys form the perfect blend of instruments and vocals to bring his songs to life! Close your eyes and listen to Jim’s songs, and you can see the story unfold in your mind’s eye. It is with great love & pleasure we welcome Jim Gaudet & The Railroad Boys back to Smoked Country Jam. Take time to listen to his song, “Ride”.
Paul Cathcart wrote: Hey Jim, Hope you are well! I saw your posting on Facebook with your store front show and in Albany and particular your signature songs…”If it Ain’t Cajun… and thought of our dear friend who just turned 93 and absolutely loves this song. She recently fell and broke her hip and is laid up…so I decided to forward your Podunk you tube version to her to cheer her up…. She shortly after I sent it she responded. Her exact words were ” I love it, I bounced all over the bed. Good thing the sides were up!” See you never know the positive influence your music has on people!
Thanks my friend and give a shout out to Bobby! Paul
Michael wrote “Friday: back to Saratoga for Albany troubadour Jim Gaudet’s sold-out album release of his new “Real Stories And Other Tall Tales” at Caffe Lena,Saratoga Springs, NY. Billed as a solo album and show, it featured Railroad Boys Sten Isachsen and Bobby Ristau. With fiddler Sara Milonovich playing in New York, Gaudet shook things up, subbing in pianist Rich Pagano. He started both sets solo, the first with “Bobby McGee and Me” that evoked the Kristofferson/Janis classic, just as “Blue Moon” later recalled Carl Perkins’s “Honey Don’t.” Sparse — Gaudet sang “”Runaway Train” with just Pagano’s piano — or rocking — “Goin’ On Downtown” upshifted from victim to vengeance on Isachsen’s switchblade mandolin break — the band impressed at all tempos or densities. “Bad Ol’ Betty” hit a rockabilly cascade; Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life” jumped just as high. Ultimately, though, Gaudet’s songs soothed or soared, sweet or sad or savage — just as he wrote them. The yearning “We Talked about the Rain” and “A Girl Like You” went deep as Townes Van Zandt or Guy Clark, and upbeat honky-tonk tunes felt like a party.”
–Michael Hochanadel/For The Daily Gazette,
Best of 2019: TOP 10 MUSICAL MOMENTS AT THE BULL
Here’s my unsolicited account of some of my favorite moments of 2019. I realize that most of Nippertown’s readership has no idea where Galway, NY is, what the Cock ‘n Bull is or who the hell I am (editor’s note: Rick is the owner), but… we’ve got an old barn with terrific acoustics, a great sound system, immensely talented technicians and some truly unforgettable performances that I’d like to share…
Jim Gaudet and The Railroad Boys with special guest Sara Milonovich on fiddle:
Jim is as much a storyteller as a songwriter. As he sings his songs the listener can visualize the scene as if it’s playing out in front of the stage, and, such weepers as “Johnny Was An Outlaw” and “Goin’ Up To Saratoga”, tugs at the heart. Not that they are all sad, but the emotion still comes through on his faster songs. “I Ain’t Gettin’ Up” is a Cajun rocker dripping with New Orleans spice.
–Rick Sleeper, promoter/owner, The Cock and Bull, Galway, New York
This band, and Jim in particular, are absolutely wonderful. I waited two years for him to return to the High Mountain Bluegrass Festival and it was more than worth the wait
–Andrew Heymsfield, Denver, Colorado
Saw these guys at the High Mountain bluegrass festival this past weekend in Colorado – what a great band! Clever, original songs with a timeless Americana feel – not technically bluegrass but employing awesome musicians on mandolin, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and stand-up bass – what musicianship! Go see these guys if you get a chance – the stage banter alone is worth the admission but the music is what you’ll remember!
–Alex Alexander, Denton, Texas
Hi Jim, I am not so good on FB, as it is difficult for someone who is blind… but, i wanted to take a minute to mention to you that I thought Monday night at McGeary’s was among your very best shows. The weather was perfect and you guys where really on that night. The sound system sounded better than ever and the energy of the band was also top notch! I have become a huge fan of yours and the Railroad Boys!!! Can’t wait to see you guys again! I assume you are not playing at McGeary’s on Labor Day? I hope to find other venues where I can continue seeing the band. I can’t make Caffe Lena on the 15th, as I have tickets to see Hamilton that night at Proctor’s, truthfully / I must rather see you!! Thanks for having me as a guest as your shows. I can listen to your music everyday…
–Michael Corso, Albany, NY
Jim’s songwriting is the foundation here… a mix of your crazy favorite cousin telling stories at the Thanksgiving table and the carefully crafted tales of Hiatt or Prine. Honest, unassuming, approachable and solid as stone. Great songs.. and Jim has surrounded himself with some of the finest musicians around…again the song is the foundation, but Jim is confident, poised enough to let Sten, Bobby and Co. play. And they’re damn good at it. Terrific balance. Professionals. Gentlemen. Always a pleasure to host and hear.
–Rick Sleeper, Talent Buyer, The Cock and Bull
Really enjoyed last night’s record release show at Caffe Lena. It came through clear and sweet on Concert Window. Loved the format. And Jim’s new ballads,We Talked About the Rain, Jim and Bobby McGee! among others connected immediately. The new rock and roll songs were awesome, great grooves and musicianship, Stensational and the green Telecaster, Upstate terrific on keys, and Bobby anchoring the enterprise. Jim’s voice conveyed all the emotion in the songs. The reappearance of A Girl Like You and Every Now and Then was perfect. The closing trilogy of familiar favorites wrapped it all up nicely. Keep on singing! Keep on playing! Keep on writing! It really was a special show. And thanks for the shoutout!
–Dan Murray, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
I invited 10 friends to Nick-A-Nees in Providence, R.I. 3/20/19. It’s a small but nice bar. People talking, laughing, drinking, playing pool and video games.(which is the normal thing there) Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys starting playing/singing…their sounds and talents were amazing. The crowd stopped talking, stopped playing pool, stopped their video games and stood and watched the band…knee slapping, dancing, singing along…I have never seen such a big crowd there on a Wednesday night. The show was absolutely fantastic. All 4 are accomplished musicians. I just want to thank JGaTRRB!
–Kerry Leach Worsham, Providence, RI
I so enjoy you and your band’s music. Such a fresh approach, and the professionalism you all demonstrate is a big credit to our line of work.
–Brian Aldridge, Dry Branch Fire Squad
The evening’s lineup on the main stage at the Smoked Country Bluegrass Jam Festival was stellar. We’d never heard of Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys before. We hope to hear a lot more of them now that we have become acquainted with their music.
Truth be told, Gaudet is a bit of a yakker. But in between his corny jokes they played a great set, highlighted by a very nice cover of Battle of New Orleans, the Jimmy Driftwood penned tune that Johnny Horton turned into a Number 1 record in 1959.
And while we might not have been familiar with this upstate New York band, they were not strangers to the crowd. That was evident from the enthusiastic sing along on their encore, the title cut from Gaudet’s 2009 LP “So Far So Good.”
“An amazing show in a coffee house environment (Cock and Bull, Galway, NY). The songs, singing, guitar picking, and humor (they did gab a bit…which is better than bands that just play at you for 90 minutes) were worth another show. Alas, we flee to Florida every winter, but I’m dragging friends out to see you next summer”.
We really appreciate people who make great music and we feel blessed to be able to provide a space where folks like you can get in front of folks who want to enjoy great musicians. So thanks to you for sharing your gifts!
–Jordan White, Talent Buyer, Wolf Hollow Brewing Company
Dear Sirs and Madame:
I had the great good fortune to catch the last 2/3 of your set at the Bluegrass Jamboree in Brooklyn. A multitude of prior commitments threatened to make me miss the entire day’s events, but I stubbornly made my way to the auditorium by about 9 PM hoping for a chance to grab some lightning in a bottle. I went from never having known of you to becoming a dedicatee by the end of two numbers. Next day I went for a 10 mile run (I know the reasons that I run…), and your band were my accompaniment for the whole 90-odd minutes. It’s so pleasant to take a journey through new music, especially when each new friend is as easy on the ear as the preceding one. Congratulations on your wonderful catalogue, and please excuse my late entrance onto the band wagon. All the best to each and every one of you.
–Kevin Hogan, Brooklyn, New York
PS – yes I already “liked” your Facebook page, did it from my phone in the auditorium while you were playing…
So, in truth, we came to your show at Godfrey Daniels in Bethlehem, PA because our friends make up the Last Small Town (the opening band) – I was not familiar with you or your band at all… and was just blown away. Your arrangements – your musicality and your smiley bass player left a HUGE impression on me and my husband, Dave. We play in our own band – and some of the things we heard you do were so inspiring… I feel like your show was 70% enjoyment and 30% school (maybe the other way around) – so thank you so much for that. I just wanted you guys to know how much we love what you guys are doing!
–Kelly Planer, Musician, Photographer
“Great show tonight at Caffe Lena’s. Beautiful space and dynamics in the vocals and instruments. New depth in the songs. Very nice setlist. Sten goes electric! Double dose of the fiddles. Jim yodels. Bobby holds down the fort. Thanks for an enjoyable evening. Goin on Downtown had a joyous menace and a giddy interplay between Sten and Sara. Deceptively sweet intro to Here it Comes. Good joke about the nonagenarians and the divorce lawyer. Rave on !”
–Dan Murray, Johnstown, PA
“Loved having you on the show, please plan on coming back with your new CD. You are an excellent songwriter and if l lived in the Albany area, l’d be a regular at your gigs.”
–Katy Daley, Show Host on WAMU, Bluegrass Country, Washington, DC. Katy also serves on the IBMA Leadership Bluegrass Planning Committee, the Distinguished Achievement Award Committee and is a Hall of Fame elector. IBMA Broadcast Personality of the Year Awarded in 2009 and 2011 at the World of Bluegrass in Nashville.
I’m on a train, listening to your So Far So Good album. I still love yours and the Railroad Boys music so much. Every part, from your vocals, the harmonies and each instrument are just perfect. Being a mandolin player myself, I just want to sit down with this album and try to learn the subtle pieces that make your songs so great.
We met at IBMA one year and have exchanged a few emails over the years. I did my best to get you in the lineup for ROMP, but couldn’t get it done. Our loss, as I know the crowd would have enjoyed hearing you guys play. I’m no longer on the Bluegrass Museum board, and I’m not hearing much bluegrass here in Australia, but I do still love it and your album reminds me why again this morning.
I’ve found another mandolin player here – a young musician from Sri Lanka who likes all music, and I’ve played with a couple of blues players here. Next jam I will be bringing a few Jim Gaudet tunes for them.
Take care – my train is arriving!
“Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys are a gold mine for a festival! They’re incredibly talented, versatile, adaptable, and a load of fun. You won’t want to let them go home, because you’ll want more — more songs, more workshops, more conversation, and yes, even more jokes.”
–Ellen Smith, Festival Team Coordinator, Turtle Hill Folk Festival, Golden Link Folk Singing Society
Thanks Jim. I have to honestly say of all the acts I have seen at the Westchester Club you and your band has been my favorite. Not only do you guys sound great but I love your cheeky lyrics. Thanks for playing there. I hope to see you and the band again soon. And I hope you enjoyed Dennys on the way home.
“This is music that makes folks feel good”
I know I love it….
–Mary Doub, Founding member of the International Bluegrass Music Association, founding member of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, Producer of Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and producer of Rhythm and Roots Music Festival
“Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys sound is at once old timey and timeless. It’s the echoes of Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, and Earl Scruggs with a rockabilly edge. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? … right here in the sound of the Railroad Boys.”
— Michael and Emmy Clarke, Producers, The Art Society of Kingston Songwriter Series
OMG this CD is UNBELIEVABLE!!
We drove home playing it last nite then at around 11:15 p.m. were still sitting in our driveway singing to it at the pitch of our lungs – of course Ron is always trying to drown me out! These songs should be playing on the air waves all across the country – talk about “feel good” music. Thanks so much for all the hard work and dedication that goes into everything you do, Jim.
“Jim writes well-crafted songs that really “work”, that is, they are tight, focused and very memorable. The singing and playing are refreshing in the way they support the songs and do not go into needless soloing (i.e “noodling”…). Which is not to take away from the excellent solos by guitarist/mandolinist Sten and especially “monster” fiddler Mat.. And of course, though in a more limited supply, by the irrepressible Bobby. Also, your use of storytelling and especially humor in the performance are pleasant additions.”
–Jim Burnett,The Stern Old Bachelor of the Airwaves, “Roots Radio” CO-OP, 102.7, Vancouver, BC
I heard Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys at International Bluegrass Music Association convention (IBMA) this year, and it ended up being the highlight of the trip. From the very first song, they had the room up dancing and singing along. I can’t describe exactly what “it” is, but they have “it”. The group is really tight and they play as a group, rather than as individuals. The mandolin and fiddle are right there just where they need to be, and the bass carries everything along whether fast or slow. Jim with his vocals and guitar just draws you in to whatever story he’s telling. The bluegrass is there, and they do it well, but they add something of their own that makes them unlike anyone else, mixing in some country, folk and maybe some rock and Mississippi blues. It’s different and I left wanting to hear more!
–Terry Gold, Trustee, International Bluegrass Music Museum, Owensburg Kentucky
Jim Gaudet, a well lauded folkie turned bluegrassser, Americana rising star!
–Martha Stracener Dantzic, Quicksilver Productions, Washington, DC
“One of the most respected literate musical talents on the capital region scene, JIM GAUDET is the rare singer/songwriter capable of dancing across the tightrope that stretches between wit and wisdom. Over the course of 5 stellar solo albums, GAUDET poured out finely crafted, deceptively simple musical stories that were by turn wry, socially aware, poignant and darkly humorous. Following the release of his 1998 album “Give Up The Ghost” GAUDET did just that, retiring from his burgeoning musical career to focus his attention on his family. Now, almost a decade later, he’s in the studio making marvelous music once again, and he’s back in the spotlight again too, having recently performed sold-out shows at both CaffeLena’s and the WAMC Performing Arts studio, “Linda Norris auditorium”. Local fans couldn’t be happier!”
– – Greg Haymes, PREVIEW, ALBANY TIMES-UNION
“For Jim Gaudet the equation is simple, straightforward, powerful performance plus user friendly repertoire equals accessible, consistent, lasting entertainment.”
– – Ellen Geisel, HUDSON VALLEY MAGAZINE
“His vital expressive bluesy vocals speak insightful stories in song well worth hearing”
– – Stephen Ide, PATRIOT LEDGER, Quincy, MA
“Listen to the sweet sounds created by his gritty voice and poetry.”
– – Ellen Geisel, DIRTY LINEN
“Gaudet takes a straightforward, honest approach to his music, infusing songs with a subtle, naked power that’s breathtaking and heartbreaking.”
– – Greg Haymes, ALBANY TIMES UNION
“His songwriting has the candor and courage of a secret diary; and you don’t have to read between the lines to see the importance of his work.”
– – Michael Hochanadel, SCHENECTADY GAZETTE
“This work, recorded direct to digital, combines live tracks with studio recordings, and overdubs only Jane Rothfield’s fiddle. … Gaudet sings with a pleasing voice accompanied by acoustic guitar, sometimes enhanced by Rothfield’s fiddle and a female backup vocalist. Some of Gaudet’s humorous songs sound a little like Steve Key, “What Do You Think About That” is an amusing narrative, and “In Real Life” a Walter Mitty fantasy unfolds. “Common Man” cleverly addresses the nation’s gambling mania. “The Boy Who Would Be King” is a sympathetic homage to Elvis, who also pops up elsewhere on the album. “Red Doyle” is a terrific narrative that sounds like a traditional broadside, dealing with building preservation. Gaudet recorded an album to treasure…
– – R. Warr SING OUT! THE FOLK SONG MAGAZINE
“… The allure of [Jim Gaudet’s] … songwriting is built upon his storytelling prowess, which is at once captivating and convincing. Gaudet has that rare ability to relate the very essence of being human with out sinking into cliches. With an engaging performing style and the clever use of wit, gentle compassion, and acute observation, Gaudet seduces the listener into his poetic visions. Whether he tackles daydreaming, “In Real Life,” marital sexual tension, “What Do You Think About That,” or Elvis Presley’s legacy, “The Boy Who Would Be King,” Gaudet’s songs honestly portray contemporary life in a refreshing manner. Based in Albany, New York, he has been a staple on the rosters of many a regional coffeehouse, club, and concert hall. You will find him opening up shows for the likes of Maura O’Connell, John Gorka and Cheryl Wheeler, or headlining at places like the PostCrypt in New York City…Don’t miss him!”
– – Andrzej Pilarczyk- Jazz It Up- THE SOURCE MAGAZINE