The Runaway Train Cult is a collective of accomplished musicians. They are certainly not a “cover band”, they’re just so much better. Instead of the usual note-for-note repetition of the classics, the musicians “de-compose” and reconstruct familiar tunes by adding their particular flavour, ensuring that your feet keep tapping.
Photo: Henry Engelbrecht
A good example of their ability to rework the familiar is their take on the Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival. These guys (and girl) produced a Tom Waits-come-Johnny Cash infused banger. In addition to their cover band prowess, they write their own material and make an effort to uncover buried songs from the long-distant past. They describe their genre as a mingling of Appalachian country, gypsy, contemporary folk and bluegrass.
Mandolin player Dan Roberts describers the band’s name as follows: “We’re a bit like a runaway train – and that’s where the name came from”. Roberts’ Stoep Studios is where the members of the collective rehearse. The band was formed to ensure they kept gigging and got out of confines of making music in a studio. Wynand Dawel and Friso Woudstra are masters on violin and guitar respectively, and are regulars in the renowned Radio Kalahari Orkes. Lead singer Alicia van Dyk, with her June Carter-esque voicem, adds a great quality to the mix, demonstrating that it is possible to rock out with an accordion. Reynier Prins adds weight and grit to the rhythm with his double bass and solid drumming.
Gareth Wilson from Southern Gypsy Queen also joined in the jam. Although the Runaway Train Cult played to a rather intimate audience, they did not fail to impress. And as my companion noted that this band is a caged lion: they are sure to cause bedlam with a bigger crowd. So put on your dancing shoes and head to the Lowlander.
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