The band made a pact to take to the road, six months or bust, just to see if it'd work out chasing their own musical aspirations. That was in spring of 2010, and The Railers are still on track.

The band made a pact to take to the road, six months or bust, just to see if it'd work out chasing their own musical aspirations. That was in spring of 2010, and The Railers are still on track.
They'll be opening for Dwight Yoakam this Saturday at the United Wireless Arena, a stopover amidst their current tour with Brett Eldridge that ends Nov. 30 and the next one that starts three days later with Corey Smith.
The Daily Globe caught up with Jonathan Lawson on the phone while the band was in Iowa, somewhere between Wednesday's show outside Minneapolis, Minn., and Thursday's in Lincoln, Neb.
The band, made up of brothers Jordan and Jonathan Lawson, Jonathan's wife Cassandra and Tyler Oban, employ a mix of guitar, bass, fiddle, mandolin, concertina and drums to give their take on country.
Despite their intense road schedule, 300 shows in the first two years and many more in 2013, the band is also six songs into their first album as The Railers and expects to release a single in the spring.
"We just don't sleep, really," Lawson said. "We make time [to record] whenever we can."
All that touring was the result of a promise the band made themselves to give up their stable gigs, take a risk and see how it worked out.
"You're basically taking all of your promise of earning money and whatever stability you have to go and travel with the band, and you don't know if you're going to get paid, … but here it is in 2013. We're still doing it, and we're starting to see some real stability."
At the time Lawson was playing acoustic guitar with country singer-songwriter Sara Evans. When Lawson told her his intention to see his band's artistic vision come to life, she asked that he stay on for a few more months, he said, and after, "Tin Cup Gypsy" could open for her.
"It was the perfect kick-starter," Lawson said.
This has proven to be a big year for The Railers: they signed a deal with Atlantic Nashville records and officially announced their new name. "Tin Cup Gypsy," a name no one could seem to remember, was out.
"After having done 200 shows you find out what's working and what's not working," Lawson said. "We had MCs whose whole job was pronouncing our name, and they were saying it wrong 50 percent of the time."
With those lessons and the new name came a new sound. "We were sort of floundering for a little bit trying to figure out what our sound was," Lawson said.
They wanted to bring their experience as bona fide degree-holding musicians — Jonathan and Jordan in violin, Cassandra in opera, Oban in percussion — and inject some rawness and energy into their music and learn to approach it more emotionally.
In an era where the word "eclectic" gets thrown around to connect old industry definitions and influences to new acts, it can be a struggle to find a musical home. When Lawson first moved out to Nashville from Arizona, he said it took a bit of time before he started broadly understanding country music.
"I think it's a really exciting time in music, where genre and format ... those things are getting a little bit blurred. I think in a lot of ways that's exciting. It allows people like us to come in—even though we have a tremendous amount of respect for country acts—we don't exactly fit into what they do," Lawson said.
Though, "We finally feel like we're in the right market at the right places," Lawson said.
In their travels, Jonathan Lawson and the rest of The Railers have seen vast swaths of the country. Though parts of the Interstate life merge into a single experience and truck stops elicit recurring déjà vu, there too are moments of beauty and wonder, he said.
While performing in Oklahoma the band got the chance to stop at the Tallgrass Prairie National Reserve, before them was "a couple thousand acres of the original tall grass prairie, there's bison, gravel roads … that's one of the last places in America that was truly like it was."
"It kind of takes you back and gives you that wild American spirit," he said.
"That idea of moving west and having the adventure is sort of what gets me going."