Mississippi Rail Company
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Mississippi Rail Company

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Band Blues Rock

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Nov
20
Mississippi Rail Company @ Banks Street Bar & Grill

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Nov
13
Mississippi Rail Company @ Cafe Prytania

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


The crowd in the Den is anxious, standing on chairs as the band, band Mississippi Rail Company sets up, ready to revel in a musical rapture.
At approximately 10:15 p.m. the Den is clouded in smoke. Soon, the clear tones of the bass, sharp notes from the keyboard and the steady drum beats push through the fog to bring quite the jubilee.
The band starts out with a fast, straight-out-of-the-bayou tune that immediately puts the crowd in a stilly tizzy. Everybody, with all their being, is in accordance with the music. Not a single soul is uninvolved in the celebration. It's musical magic; a collective exercise in the joining of self, it's an experiment in life, and the philosophy of jazz, and the relationship of the congregation with the mellifluous minister.
Travers' voice navigates through each audience member's ears, through their Byzantine channels, and evokes pure, unadulterated delight. Drummer and jazz junior, Sam Shahin's drumming, stable yet uniquely unattached, elevates the audience to a state of ecstasy. There is not a stationary body to be found in the crowd, and those who aren't yet dancing are preparing to do so. With a smile on their faces, an instrument in their hands, and a stage beneath their feet, the world is theirs. This is the type of relationship with the music any resident of New Orleans would expect; both the listeners and musicians are at a mutual level of elation. After their set, the boys of Mississippi Rail Company socialize with the crowd and prepare to join the affair. And they too, are effervescent as the revelries continue into the night. The band, is comprised of bassist and music industry junior John Paul, Shahin and keyboardist, vocalist and Tulane senior Travers Geoffray. - The Maroon


The crowd in the Den is anxious, standing on chairs as the band, band Mississippi Rail Company sets up, ready to revel in a musical rapture.

At approximately 10:15 p.m. the Den is clouded in smoke. Soon, the clear tones of the bass, sharp notes from the keyboard and the steady drum beats push through the fog to bring quite the jubilee.

The band starts out with a fast, straight-out-of-the-bayou tune that immediately puts the crowd in a stilly tizzy. Everybody, with all their being, is in accordance with the music. Not a single soul is uninvolved in the celebration. It's musical magic; a collective exercise in the joining of self, it's an experiment in life, and the philosophy of jazz, and the relationship of the congregation with the mellifluous minister.

Travers' voice navigates through each audience member's ears, through their Byzantine channels, and evokes pure, unadulterated delight. Drummer and jazz junior, Sam Shahin's drumming, stable yet uniquely unattached, elevates the audience to a state of ecstasy. There is not a stationary body to be found in the crowd, and those who aren't yet dancing are preparing to do so. With a smile on their faces, an instrument in their hands, and a stage beneath their feet, the world is theirs. This is the type of relationship with the music any resident of New Orleans would expect; both the listeners and musicians are at a mutual level of elation. After their set, the boys of Mississippi Rail Company socialize with the crowd and prepare to join the affair. And they too, are effervescent as the revelries continue into the night. The band, is comprised of bassist and music industry junior John Paul, Shahin and keyboardist, vocalist and Tulane senior Travers Geoffray. - The Maroon


Small things can come in great packages and for the jazz trio Mississippi Rail Company the challenge of being trio is one they welcome.

"There's a lot of young people who are seriously interested in the roots of American music and, I think, finding those people and reaching them is a big part of what we want to do," said John Paul, music industry junior and bassist of Loyola band, Mississippi Rail Company.

The trio, made up of Paul, music industry studies junior, Sam Shahin, jazz studies junior, and Travers Geoffray, Tulane environmental studies senior, has been playing music together for three years, released their debut, self-titled EP which stands for Extended Play, this past June.

"We wanted to go in, punch it in, and we did the whole thing live," Geoffray said.

"Including the vocals, which is pretty rare now," Shahin said.

The EP has four hand-picked songs, beautifully describing the band while incorporating influences such as Tom Waits, Taj Mahal, Muddy Waters and Skip James. Paul's bass tones, coupled with Shahin's beats and Geoffray's dynamic piano chords and voice, allow them to create songs that truly emulate the down and out world of the blues, while still allowing the listener to snap their fingers to the tune.

"There's two sides of blues, there's this real down and out sort of thing, then there's this other sort of sexual, romantic side," Geoffray said.

These boys may have a simple time explaining their interpretations of the blues, but when it comes to their music they have been faced with the challenge of addressing their number one issue: the lack of a guitar.

"Our biggest challenge is there's only three of us," Geoffray said. "We don't have a lot of weapons."

"There's not a lot of crayons in our box," Paul said.

But, according to the band, some of the best bands were trios: Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana and (early) Green Day and like these influential bands, their lack of an instrument option forces Mississippi Rail Company to hone their craft.

"I feel like a lot of our problems would be solved very quickly if we had another instrument. It's a challenge that, I think, ends up making the song more musical," Geoffray said. This trio has a simple goal.

"I want to bring all of these different traditions that we play to a new and younger audience," Geoffray said.

Shahin laughed and said, "I'm just doing it for the chicks, man."

Ashley Curtis can be reached at

aecurtis@loyno.edu - The Maroon


The Mississippi Rail Company, composed of three young New Orleanians, crafts unique songs from well-worn sounds. The band’s piano-driven music includes playful bass-lines and emotive percussion. Travers Geoffray, a Tulane senior, anchors every song with his soulful warble and timeless songwriting.
The band’s first EP was released in June and is available for free download on its website. The release displays enormous potential, and should find a comfortable home among fans of early-period Cold War Kids, late-period Robert Plant or current-period Magnolia Electric Co.

You can catch this talented, rising act playing around New Orleans with regularity; they have upcoming shows Nov. 13 at Café Prytania and Nov. 20 at Banks Street Bar. - The Hullaballoo


Discography

Mississippi Rail Company (EP)

Photos

Bio

The business of Mississippi Rail Company is moving music forward via a vehicle of the past. Their music is an experiment in irony, embracing New Orleans roots music, rock ’n roll, folk, and blues traditions while refusing to fall subject to any of their claims. Their music breaks wholly new ground, rejecting any pull toward a simple re-hash of past musical genres. There is nothing tired, tried, or weary about their sound as it re-thinks (and re-shapes) a century of American musical traditions. In short, it manages to sound as if it could have been produced in 1920, even as its content and structure are a decade ahead of its time.

The group is comprised of three young musical talents, all of whom found themselves drawn to New Orleans with the specific purpose of imbibing the city’s musical heritage. Mississippi Rail Company’s first self-titled EP, released in June 2010, exemplifies a group who has breathed in, mastered, and understood hundreds of musical influences, only to breathe them back out in a way uniquely their own.

The most compelling thing about the EP is that all four songs contain a distinct sound and style, even as they work together to create a unified aesthetic. The first song, “Fire,” bears a heavy Gillian Welch/David Rawlings influence coupled with a lead vocal that is one shake Dr. John and one shake Robert Plant. The driving beat and haunting lyrics draw the listener into an apocalyptic vision that ultimately remains hopeful in tone and rhythm. “Can I be your Husband?” moves the Dr. John influence from the vocal to the instrumentation as the lyrics take a playful and suggestive tone of a speaker who desperately wants to woo his woman. “Mr. Brown,” reminiscent of a Jerry Lee Lewis jam session, humorously tells the tale of a recluse who may or may not have killed his wife. “Only God Knows My Name” closes the album by taking the existential angst of hard Dylan and giving it a heavier blues edge.

In such a manner, Mississippi Rail Company continues to steam forward in a manner that is evocative of so many old traditions yet remains fresh and exciting. They are to New Orleans music what Old Crow Medicine Show is to bluegrass and Los Po-boy-citos is to Latin: neither descendent from nor mimetic of their genre. Instead, they seek to transcend it. The band could just as easily be enjoyed by fans of Professor Longhair as those of Emmylou Harris, Fats Domino, or Tom Waits, and such a singular musical style surely will have a place in the New Orleans music scene for a long time to come.