The “Gap” in the song “Crossing the Gap,” by Northwestern New Jersey-based bluegrass/jam band Railroad Earth, refers to the Delaware Water Gap. “I’m crossing the Gap on my way home/Above my head just sky and stone,” sings the band’s violinist, Tim Carbone, who wrote the song — from the band’s 2008 album, Amen Corner — with mandolinist John Skehan.
He’s crossing from Jersey into Pennsylvania, though. As he told jambase.com in 2008:
“I’m from the Delaware Water Gap area and every time I’d come home from New Jersey from a gig, it’d be very, very late and I’d see the morning star a lot of times, and I actually started talking to it. ‘Oh yeah, it’s my old friend up there.’ And then, ‘Oh wait a minute, that’s actually a cool little line. I’m going to write that down.’ So, that song comes from the experience of driving home through a big canyon with a huge river alongside of you.”
Railroad Earth formed in 2001 as a kind of all-star group of Northwestern New Jersey roots musicians. Carbone had been in Blue Sparks From Hell, singer-songwriter-guitarist Todd Sheaffer had fronted From Good Homes, and the other members had been in a variety of local groups. They’ve released seven albums and are still together, and are now, in fact, preparing to put out a collaborative album with Warren Haynes.
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.