Cantina celebrates with Confederate Railroad

April 05, 2007|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

While the other guys wore starched Wranglers and cowboy T-shirts, the boys from Confederate Railroad were wearing black leather.

"That was kind of different for Nashville," said Danny Shirley, the country band's frontman.

It used to be that edgy and Nashville weren't two terms you'd see side by side, Shirley said. But the country rockers from Georgia sought to push the boundaries with an alternative look and style of country music.

"We didn't come up singing in the choir or playing in the family bluegrass band," Shirley said. "We were out there playing bars and honky tonks."

Confederate Railroad is scheduled to perform this weekend at Cancun Cantina West, as part of a nationwide tour promoting two upcoming albums - one of covers of songs by the band's favorite country artists due out in April, and a live album of originals due later this summer, Shirley said.


Cancun Cantina also is celebrating its one-year anniversary. Festivities for the venue's first birthday began Wednesday and will continue through Saturday, April 7. Great Train Robbery performs tonight at 9. Confederate Railroad performs Friday at 9 p.m. Richie Fields performs at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets cost $5 per person per concert, organizers said.

Confederate Railroad was one of the first acts to perform at Cancun Cantina, said Cheryl George, office manager for the Hagerstown venue.

In many ways the Hagerstown show holds true to Confederate Railroad's roots. The six-piece band got its start playing at night clubs, bars and honky-tonk joints throughout Georgia, performing "one-nighters" with David Allan Coe and Johnny Paycheck.

"We did it the old-fashioned way. We built our fame gradually," Shirley said.

Confederate Railroad has recorded at least 10 albums; their songs are humorous, poking fun at political correctness (example: "That 'R' Word and "White Trash With Money"), and can also be emotional and show the band's softer side (such as "Between the Rainbows and the Rain").

But at times, it seemed as though they were the only ones who weren't getting noticed by the major labels. Shirley said he thinks much of that had to do with the band's "edgier" style, which gets some of its flavoring from Southern rock.

"There was a period when just a couple of years ago, everything was vanilla. Record companies wanted you to do and sing certain things because it sold records," Shirley said. "I think that kind of diluted the quality."

But things have changed, Shirley said. Today's country music listeners are ready for something edgier, and Confederate Railroad is ready to deliver.

"Unfortunately, I think 9/11 opened things up. After 9/11, Toby Keith came out with his song, and then there was the Dixie Chicks," he said. "Whether you agreed with them or not, the genre opened up to different opinions. That kind of got us out of that vanilla and put some personality back into country music."

If you go ...

WHAT: Confederate Railroad, country band

WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday, April 6

WHERE: Cancun Cantina West, Dual Highway, Hagers-town

COST: $5

MORE: For ticket information, call Cancun Cantina West at 301-797-4422.


Hear it for yourself

Checkout Loop's podcast at to hear Confederate Railroad's song "Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind."

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