Riding the Boston and Maine from Nick Dumas

Skyline Records has a second single today for bluegrass artist Nick Dumas, formerly mandolinist/vocalist with Special Consensus.

Dumas left Special C when he married, and is now running a music and event center in Sturgeon Bay, WI with his wife. But he is certainly not finished with music, and has a great deal more to offer. In fact, Will McSeveney, President of Skyline Records, chose Nick to be the first artist they would record when the label was formed earlier this year.

For this second release, they have picked a new train song, Riding the Boston and Maine, written by Tim Stafford and Rick Lang. Nick is a major train enthusiast, as are Stafford and Lang, so the connection to this song was instantaneous when he heard the demo.

Rick shared a few thoughts about the memories that sparked this song.

“I grew up in Exeter, NH back in the 1950s. We were a large family of six (five boys and one girl) and spent most of our time outside. The Boston and Maine Railroad ran right behind our house. Those trains and tracks over time became an integral part of our lives.

Back in my childhood, long freight trains would go by all the time both day and night. Our whole house would shake, sometimes knocking dishes off the shelves in our kitchen. We’d often run down to the tracks to watch the trains as they passed by, count the cars, read the names/writing on the box cars, check out the cargo. It was a great source of entertainment.

I remember many a day after school we would walk down the tracks and see how far we could go, and still be home in time for supper. Sometimes if we put our ear on the track we could hear them miles away.

On summer nights we would leave the window open so we could listen to the trains go by. So many times I fell asleep to the rhythm of the train.

Everything in the song is pretty factual, just as I remember it when I was a kid.

I’ve had the idea for the song and wanted to write it for a very long time. I’m so grateful to my good friend and frequent collaborator Tim Stafford for working it up together. Tim’s one of the very best, and the song would never have come to be without him.

I was really excited to hear Nick wanted to record Riding The Boston and Maine, especially as it’s a very personal true to life story. I’ll never forget the mighty roar of the engine, the clickey-clack sound of the wheels on the tracks, and smell of smoke coming up the stack to this very day.”

Dumas sings the lead and plays mandolin, supported by Carley Arrowood on fiddle, Jeff Partin on reso-guitar, Kenny Smith on guitar, Russ Carson on low-tuned banjo, and Jed Clark on bass. Carley and Zach Top sing harmony.

It’s a lovely song, beautifully sung, and masterfully performed by these stellar players.

Have a listen…

Riding the Boston and Maine is available now from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers will find the track at AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.