Confederate Railroad: All Aboard, Again

Catching Up With ... Confederate Railroad

Originally published in the Oct. 16, 2001 issue of Country Weekly magazine.

Confederate Railroad carved a name for themselves with rockin’ tunes and attitude to match. Now, nearly a decade after the band’s debut, they’re chugging back with new music that’s matured along with them.

Especially their new single, “That’s What Brothers Do,” which explores brotherly love. It reminded Danny Shirley – lead singer and longtime Railroad frontman – of his two young sons, Nicholas, 4, and 2–year–old Mitchell.

“It just mirrored our children so much,” says Danny. “In the song you’ve got the 4–year–old telling the baby all the stuff he’s going to teach him and what they’re going to do together. We watch that song being relived here at the house every day.”

While Confederate Railroad previously enjoyed success with other sensitive ballads – like their Top 5 hit “Jesus And Mama” – Danny is quick to claim that the band has not settled down completely. They still love rocking the house with their raucous hits from the ’90s, including “Trashy Women” and “Queen Of Memphis.”

“Over the years we have settled down a lot. I guess I’m singing more songs about kids now than I am about trashy women!” Danny laughs. “But we still do the hell–raisin’ songs. We can still raise hell as much as we ever did, just not quite as often. And it takes longer to recover!”

Things have changed on the road, too. Once known for touring more than 300 dates a year, Danny and the band – Mark DuFresne, Wayne Secrest, Gates Nichols, Jimmy Dormire and Cody McCarver – have scaled back their shows to a more reasonable 100. Danny wants to spend more time at his Chattanooga home with wife Jenni, their two small children and his other son, Levi, 13.

Danny loved spending time with George Jones for the duet “She Treats Her Body Like A Temple,” a highlight of the album. “If you’re going to get a chance to sing with somebody, then who better than the greatest country singer ever? I was a little nervous about asking him,” confesses Danny. “I even got him to sign his lyric sheet after the session was over so I could have it framed!"

After Confederate Railroad spent 10 years with Atlantic Records, Danny chose to release the new record on the Audium label, because of the freedom that an independent label offers. That freedom even inspired the title of the album, Unleashed.

“We thought about song titles, and nothing really hit me good off the album,” he explains. “But then I got to thinking that we had total freedom, and it felt like we were being unleashed.”

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