They really have a great concert series going in Woburn, at the North end of Horn Pond in the pretty area known as Ice House Park (ice harvesting and storage happened there between 1873 and 1939). When we heard that Southern Rail was going to be playing there ... and saw it was a free date on our calendar ... we were psyched!
We hadn't seen Southern Rail for maybe 20 years, through no fault of theirs. They exemplify some of the truest merits of bluegrass music: well-worked harmonies, well-chosen covers of the classics, democratic arrangements, and some hot licks.
We showed up a song-and-a-half into the first set and it was amazing how far back from the stage all of the 50-75 people there had set up. Most were there to enjoy a cool evening (at last, after an incredible heat wave) and let their kids/grandkids run wild on the grass on a Friday night ... it was a relaxed community event. I moved up front though and others followed, which the band really appreciated. They thought we didn't like them, but some of us *were* there to hear the music.
The music was fun, spattered with some goofs here and there, but as energetic as you might want on a summer's night. They hadn't worked up one of my favorite Southern Rail songs, Just a Little Man, but did I Didn't Ask, Caroline Lightning, a great cover of Coal Tattoo, Rodney Crowell's seminal Song For Life, a number of Scruggs covers, and a couple of excellent originals by Jim Muller's brother Damien. Of course Jim leads the band (and has written their iconic songs), backed up by his wife Sharon on bass and beautiful harmonies.