Clarkdale, AZ – The American railroad is the stuff of legend and folklore, inspiring poems, novels, film and song. On Saturday, August 31, Verde Canyon Railroad’s Rhythm on the Rails serves passengers a special blend of trains and tunes with this onboard concert in the Canyon. The brilliant scenery serenaded by the clickety-clack of steel wheels along the rails is an American lullaby. This summer’s musical line-up will equal the thrills of the Canyon’s rare riparian wilderness for an audio-visual sensation hard to find elsewhere.
As the train covers a wide range of scenic highlights, seven musical acts cover a wide range of genres from jazz to blues, rock to country, spoken word to instrumental. The passenger cars each provide an intimate concert venue as the acts travel the length of the train, performing a set of songs in each coach.
Popular Arizona musician Hans Olson brings his special brand of growling, highway blues and harmonica. Music in Motion showcases Sedona songstress Rosemary Chavez accompanied by Allan Ames and Bryan Sinclair. Storytellers from Jerome, Arizona, Ken and Lynn Mikell entertain passengers with a wide variety of musical instruments, illuminating the music and poetry that followed the western trails. Devon Bridgewater’s Nuance Jazz Trio, a fan favorite, returns with their bold brassy horns and big band jazz. The Senators, a budding young band from Phoenix, share foot-stomping energy and banjo-swinging enthusiasm with their signature blend of vintage and modern Americana. As Duo Vibrato, Joshua and Miray Rhodes make a stunning ensemble, captivating the audience with their Mediterranean mix of gypsy jazz and classical chamber music. Shawn Royer and Rhonda Hitchcock are Penny Anty, a Phoenix duo that entertains with many of their own originals, as well as cover-songs ranging from the Beatles to Taylor Swift.
Bands will arrive early to sign autographs and pose for photos at the depot prior to the train’s 1:00 p.m. departure.
Passengers may opt for fist-class or coach accommodations for this special four-hour concert in the Canyon. First-class, $125 per person, features comfortable living room-style seating with overstuffed chairs and loveseats, service at your seat, hot and cold appetizers, Champagne toast upon departure and full bar service throughout the trip. Coach pricing is $75 per person with classic Pullman-style seating. Both classes are climate-controlled and access open-air viewing cars.
Why are there so many songs written about trains? Because music and railroads both keep a steady beat. Fads and fashions may change from year to year but true classics never go out of style. Become part of the musical history of railroading. Experience Rhythm on the Rails.
Comfortable first-class accommodations lavish passengers with luxurious living-room style, including an abundant selection of appetizers and attentive beverage service right to your seat. Coach-class is redolent of vintage-style passenger car charm with a well-stocked snack bar. Both classes have access to open-air viewing cars, a favorite aspect to this rail journey immersing passengers into the sights, sounds and scents of this wild western canyon.
Only two hours from Phoenix and 25 minutes from Sedona, Verde Canyon Railroad is the perfect Arizona day-trip, or if you plan to stay over, ask about our Room, Ride and Meal packages. Trains depart at 1 p.m. daily. Reservations are accepted at 800.293.7245 or online at verdecanyonrr.com.
It’s not the destination, it’s the musical journey
The line continued to operate even after the copper mines closed in ’53, by carrying a variety of freight, livestock and passengers along the Verde River to destinations near and far. In the ‘80s and ‘90s short lines like this one were put up to bid by major railroads who wanted to divest themselves small operations under 500 miles. That was when Dave Durbano, a railroad executive who owns Western Railroad Builders bought the line. Although he initially acquired it for the freight business it took only one visit to the Verde Valley for him to realize that the spectacular scenery and history of the line made it ideal for an excursion operation. In 1990 he launched the Verde Canyon Railroad, saying “ The Verde Canyon Railroad was conceived because of the beauty and serenity of the canyon and its inaccessibility.
The way the track was constructed between the canyon walls and the river enticed me and it’s railroad features, including the turn table bridge, S.O.B. Bridge, the covered bridge at Perkinsville and the 680-foot man made tunnel were rare to find all within one line.”
Today both the excursion line which was launched in 1990 and the Clarkdale Arizona Central Railroad freight operation (which hauls coal to the Salt River materials Group) share the same rails which wind through the 38 miles of the Verde Canyon.
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