The Beautiful Train Wrecks

The Beautiful Train Wrecks

 Portland, Oregon, USA

Old school country meets indie rock and has a Beautiful Train Wreck as a result. We've been compared to the Old 97s, Son Volt, The Band and are influenced by traditional country greats like Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb, among others.


Portland, Oregon’s The Beautiful Train Wrecks boast a five-piece membership with geographically diverse origins; members hail from Kansas, Washington, Arizona, Texas and Maine.

The Beautiful Train Wrecks were formed in 2007 by Lucas Alberg (vocals/guitar), Paul DeMichele (drums), and Rick Hedges (bass guitar/vocals), with the aim of playing traditional country music in the vein of Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, and George Jones. When lead players Travis Magrane (guitar) and Joe Root (piano/keyboards) joined the fold, the Train Wrecks’ sound diversified beyond their original classic country intentions. The result: each band member’s regional musical influences permeate into tuneful songs that can be described alternately as country, roots, alt-country, rock, and folk.

During live performances, frontman Lucas Alberg’s stage presence is at times spirited, cheerfully engaging in playful exchanges with audience and band members alike. At other times, when explaining the provenance of a particular song’s story, Lucas Alberg appears reflective and thoughtful, carefully choosing his words to provide the proper context for a song with weightier lyrical content.

The presence of two lead instruments with distinct timbres encourages the application of different musical textures to serve the emotional content of each song. Joe Root's honky tonk piano leads the Train Wrecks through the rollicking “Amelia,” while Travis Magrane firmly takes the reins with a gritty guitar lead on “Eliza.” As the rhythm section, Paul DeMichele on drums and Rick Hedges on bass guitar keep the train from flying off the rails, evidenced on up-tempo numbers such as “Country Boy” and “Island Darlin.’”

Optimism is a recurring theme in the Train Wrecks’ music. The songs are heartfelt and immediate without resorting to lyrical clichés or disingenuous themes. “Greensburg” artfully distills the band’s best qualities into a country-tinged folk rocker, retelling the story of a devastating F5 tornado that almost completely destroyed the town of Greensburg, Kansas. Just a short distance from Lucas Alberg’s childhood home of Pratt, Kansas, Greensburg inspired him to write a paean to the small town, which is now rebuilding itself into a model green community. Although 95% of the town was destroyed by the tornado, the willingness of the residents to rebuild their beloved town serves as a testimonial to hope and the triumph of the human spirit. These are the type of emotional currents that The Beautiful Train Wrecks hope to communicate through their music.


Rainy Day Parade (full length) -- 2009

Set List

Set lists typically average 60 to 90 minutes in length, depending on no. of bands. We usually do a couple covers per set, ranging from Old Crow Medicine Show songs to Neil Young, Rolling Stones, Son Volt, Merle Haggard, etc. Below is an example of an average set list for The Beautiful Train Wrecks:

1. Cocaine Woman
2. Country Boy
3. Fargo
4. California
5. Highway 101
6. Wagon Wheel
7. Waiting Room
8. Amelia
9. Eliza
10. Portland
11. Blood on the Walls
12. Uncle Ralph
13. Dead Flowers
14. Island Darling
15. Everybody Knows this is Nowhere
16. Greensburg