Confederate Railroad: keep on rockin'

July 09, 1998

Confederate RailroadBy TERI JOHNSON / Staff Writer

Some people couldn't wait for Confederate Railroad to pull into their station.

Fueled by requests from country radio, the band soon will release its first album in more than three years, lead singer Danny Shirley said.

"Radio called and said 'We need something different; we need some Confederate Railroad,' " he said.

--cont from lifestyle--

Shirley said he and the band members are excited about doing the music their way.

"We didn't have to compromise what we do," Shirley said.

The new album, "Keep on Rockin'," is scheduled for a September release, and the single and video by the same name will be out in August.


The group just shot the video in Santa Fe, N.M., featuring some residents of an old folks' home who have found a way to stay young.

"The secret is that you have to keep on rockin' or you'll turn to stone," Shirley said.

"Keep on Rockin' '' will be more like the group's debut album than any other one it has done, he said.

"We did everything but stay safe and in the middle," said Shirley, 41.

That's good news for fans, who have come to expect something different from the rebels who are playing "Jesus and Mama" one minute and "Trashy Women" the next.

Concert-goers can hear some of their new material Sunday, July 12, at Country Music Jamboree at Whitetail in Mercersburg, Pa.

The event, sponsored by Kiss Country 94.3 FM, begins at 1 p.m. and also features Mustang Sally and Branded. Proceeds benefit Mercersburg Volunteer Fire Co.

There's no predicting what Confederate Railroad will perform, because the band doesn't work with a set list.

The group - which also includes keyboardist Chris McDaniel, bassist Wayne Secrest, lead guitarist Jimmy Dormire, pedal steel guitarist Gates Nichols and drummer Mark Dufresne - has charted a course that has captured listeners on both the extreme left and the extreme right. Their Southern-flavored, rocking country style has sold more than 4 million albums.

The band basically has had two careers - one of fun songs such as "Elvis and Andy" and another of serious ones like "When You Leave That Way," Shirley said.

When the Railroad started rolling almost two decades ago, they expected to attract the blue-collar male crowd.

"It wasn't until 'Trashy Women' that women started coming to Railroad shows. After that, we never knew what sort of person would come," Shirley said.

The group's show is a study in opposites: where else can you find women in tube tops seated next to a family in turtlenecks?

That diversity is a lot of fun for the Railroad crew, who always try to be accessible to fans, Shirley said.

"We see a lot of the same faces year after year," he said.

The band has kicked back a bit, cutting its touring schedule to about 140 dates a year.

That allows Shirley more time at home in Chattanooga, Tenn., with his wife, Jenni, and their 13-month-old son, Nicholas. The Shirleys are expecting their second son around Thanksgiving.

It also gives Shirley time to catch the ballgames of 10-year-old Levi, his son by a previous marriage.

Even if the new album takes off, the group won't be doing 275 shows a year anymore, Shirley said.

"We'll let those 20-year-olds do that," he said.

Country Music Jamboree

featuring Confederate Railroad, Mustang Sally and Branded

  • Where: Whitetail, 13805 Blairs Valley Road, Mercersburg, Pa.
  • When: Sunday, July 12; gates open at 11 a.m. and Branded begins performing at 1 p.m., followed by Mustang Sally and Confederate Railroad
  • Details: The event is sponsored by Kiss Country 94.3 FM, and proceeds will benefit Mercersburg Volunteer Fire Co. Bring lawn chairs.
  • Tickets: $12.50 in advance; $15 at the gate; free for children 10 and younger

Tickets are available at Whitetail, Kiss Country 94.3 FM offices at 25 Penncraft Ave. in Chambersburg and many other locations in Franklin County, Pa., and Washington County.

For information: Call Kiss Country at 1-717-264-7121 or Mercersburg Volunteer Fire Co. at 1-717-328-3727.

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