In the mid-'90s, James Dalton, who had played in various roots rock and pop/rock bands, hooked up with bass player Tyson Murray as part of Shaken Martinis, a swing group based in Denver, CO. When the swing fad died out, the duo turned its attention to country. They added drummer Gordon Beesly, formerly of Brethren Fast, shortly thereafter. In 2000, the Railbenders entered the studio to record their debut album. Southbound was released in 2001 and received local and regional praise for its "hard rockin' country" feel. It was also praised for its eclectic cover version of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train." The group also earned top prize in the Westword Music Showcase's country/bluegrass category. The Railbenders have opened for the Supersuckers, the Derailers, and others. They have also been compared to Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Cash. The Railbenders returned to the studio in 2002 to record their second album.
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