Live Music: Railroad Earth; Feufollet; Judah and the Lion; Carlene Carter

Great live music to check out this week

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BLUEGRASS | Railroad Earth
Fri. March 27
8 p.m.
$23
Music Farm

Railroad Earth’s Andrew Altman listens to electronic and house music on Spotify, but when it comes to performing, he plays upright bass. “Sometimes, when you play acoustic music so much, you need a break,” Altman says. Though Altman joined the band five years ago, Railroad Earth formed nearly 15 years ago, getting its name from a Jack Kerouac short story “October in the Railroad Earth.” Since then, the band has released seven LPs, including last year’s Last of the Outlaws. Railroad Earth recently collaborated with longtime friend Warren Haynes of The Allman Brothers on a forthcoming, as-yet-untitled release, which will carry on Railroad Earth’s signature eclectic bluegrass sound. Blending Celtic, rock, jazz, and folk, the group draws heavily on a mix of individual influences. Mandolin and Irish bouzouki player John Skehan is a classical pianist who grew up listening to rock bands, while Altman was trained in jazz. Songwriter, lead vocalist, and guitarist Todd Sheaffer has a Bob Dylan and Neil Young kind of style, while violinist, accordion player, and electric guitarist Tim Carbone has a deep love of roots and blues. “We’re Celtic, rock, blues schizophrenic — a rainbow of flavors if you will,” says Altman. “Our common denominator is that everyone in the band is fundamentally behind the idea that everything starts with a song. Everything else is built around that.” —Kalyn Oyer FRIDAY

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CAJUN FOLK | Feufollet
w/ Megan Jean & the KFB
Thurs. March 26
9:30 p.m.
$8/adv., $10/door
Pour House

Feufollet (French for “crazy fire”) is a Cajun-style folk band with an enriched Americana sound. In 2011, the band snagged a Grammy Award nomination for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album for 2010’s En Couleurs, an album that borrows its sound from Louisiana’s swamp region. “We’re from Lafayette, so we’re definitely influenced by traditional music from around the area, including country music,” says Kelli Jones-Savoy, fiddler, guitarist, and one of the band’s two lead vocalists. A lively blend of Cajun, honky-tonk, and strings, as well as blues, country and alternative rock, Feufollet’s latest effort is the 11-song LP Two Universes, which was released March 24. Jones-Savoy and Chris Stafford, both fluent in French, trade verses and share blissful boy-girl harmonies, with Jones-Savoy switching often from enchanting all-French vocals to a down-home, swampy-tonk twang all in the same song, like with Two Universes’ “Hole in My Heart” and “Cette Fois.” Organ, fiddle, accordion, and piano are all elements that complement the band’s French and honky-tonk tendencies, making a Feufollet performance quite the sight to see and hear, too. The band is on the road now in support of Two Universes, finishing the tour off right in May at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. —Viraj Naik THURSDAY

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FOLK POP | Judah & The Lion
w/ Mat Kearney and Parachute
Tues. March 31
7:30 p.m.
$34.50
Charleston Music Hall

Judah and The Lion vocalist and guitarist Judah Akers, mandolinist Brian Macdonald, and banjo man Nate Zuercher first met at Belmont University in Nashville. Macdonald and Zuercher shared a class and were introduced to Akers through a mutual friend. Soon after, the three were jamming in the bell tower on campus. “We just clicked,” remembers Zuercher. “It was obvious that this could be something big.” In 2012, the trio debuted with First Fruits, a harmony-rich bluegrass EP released under the Christian music category. But 2013’s Sweet Tennessee had tons of mainstream success, debuting on the Billboard Top 20, and the EP also landed at No. 2 on the Bluegrass chart, No. 9 on Heatseekers, and No. 15 on the Folk chart. Then last year, Judah and The Lion dropped their first LP, Kids These Days, which didn’t do too shabby, either. Hitting No. 2 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and No. 4 in Folk, Kids is an energetic folk-pop effort that also proves the band is as harmony-driven as ever. But more than anything, Zuercher hopes the band’s positive message resonates with listeners, like on the band’s latest single, “Hold On (Hippy Dance),” which was featured on Hart of Dixie last week. “There is hope,” he says. “You get caught up in everyone’s crap and that’s legitimate. Life is worth living. Even if it stinks and is really hard, keep your head up.” —Sarah Eastwood TUESDAY

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COUNTRY | Carlene Carter
w/ John Mellencamp
Thurs. March 26
7:30 p.m.
$39.50
North Charleston Performing Arts Center

As part of the legendary Carter family, Carlene Carter has been around music her entire life. While The Carter Family took their music from city to city — even Charleston, she remembers — Carlene learned to play piano and guitar on the road, and she occasionally tried her hand at performing. “You know, in my family they stuck you out on stage whether you were any good or not, and then you got to find out in front of a lot of people,” Carter says. The daughter of country singers Carl Smith and June Carter Cash, Carter has followed in her family’s footsteps, releasing 10 studio albums to date, including last year’s Carter Girl, an album full of family stories and sentiments. Carter’s country ways are reminiscent of both her parents. “Well, there’s a part of me that’s a lot like [my father], because I love home and I love horses and I love being a gentle woman rancher, and that’s what my daddy loved the most,” she says. “He always said country music afforded him the life he always dreamed of and that was to have a ranch and raise horses and all that fun stuff that he did from the time he retired up until the day he died.” As for her mother, Carter reckons she has a lot of her wit and her love for the stage, saying, “My mama, she was just addicted to the road. She was addicted to performing, and she didn’t know any different all her life. Since she was eight years old, she’s been on stage. She’d do anything for a laugh, just anything.” Ironically, the last song Carter recorded with her mother was “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?” Her answer to that can be found in not only Carter Girl, but in all the years she’s kept her family’s music alive. And yes, she’ll unapologetically use the Carter name to do that. “Anybody who says I’m falling back on my family’s name can kiss my ass,” she says. “I will gladly fall back on my family name at this point in my life.” —Kelly Rae Smith THURSDAY

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