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Band on the run

Jericho Railroad blends rock
music with Christian ministry

Oldham Middle School principal
shows musical side

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(December 2008) – Fifteen years had elapsed before Chris Kraft picked up his guitar again and played in front of anyone. The result was a band with a mission of ministry.
Kraft is one of three original members left in a five-member band known as Jericho Railroad. Begun as a praise band in his local church, Wall Street United Methodist Church in Jeffersonville, Ind., the band “brought three strangers together,” said Kraft, originally from Clarksville.

Jericho Railroad

Photo provided

Jericho Railroad’s music has been
described as a crossover between
Christian rock and classic ‘70s rock.

The three men decided to make their music a ministry, turning it into an outreach project for the church and eventually adding more members. Bassist Jeff Goddard described their music as “a crossover between Christian rock and classic ‘70s rock.”
Jericho Railroad’s music presents “positive, traditional messages,” said Goddard, who is originally from Louisville. “We want to give people some alternative to what the world offers.”
The band consists of Kraft on vocals and guitar, Shawn Cagle as lead guitarist, Mark Eastridge on drums, Greg White on guitar and Goddard on bass. They have a long list of influences, which includes Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Bad Paisley, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rick Nielsen and Jimmy Page.
Kraft is principal for Oldham County Middle School. Even though he has worked for the school system for 20 years he said, “My entire life has revolved around music.”
He began taking guitar lessons when he was 12 and has always enjoyed singing.
One of Kraft’s songs, “Modern Day Christian,” was inspired by his 17-year-old son who thought he knew more than his father about the modern day world we live in. In the lyrics Kraft asks what Jesus, who lived so long ago, would know about life in the 21st century.
There is a single purpose that draws the band together, said Kraft. Their goal is to knock down the walls or barriers that separate people from God, just as the Biblical Jericho walls fell when Joshua marched around them seven times.
Members have been in previous bands and performed in the local area. “Being a Christian band doesn’t limit us to only Christian music,” Kraft said. “We look for lyrics that appeal to us, and have a message we like.”
Goddard has worked with a lot of different bands, meeting and learning from famous rock musicians and country artists. One of his songs, “Today” was written with former Beatle George Harrison’s nephew.
At age 5, Goddard, now 41, began banging on his sister’s toy piano. From there he learned to play guitar and this led him on a path to continue pursuing music.
Goddard, who is employed by United Parcel Service, said the band’s original name was The Gospel Train. Just as a train stops from town to town, the band took the gospel to the streets. Goddard filled in from time to time, eventually becoming a fulltime band member.
Some of the venues the band has performed include different area churches, Kentucky Kingdom, competing in Louisville’s Battle of the Bands, and the Kentucky State Reformatory.
This last location was “not nearly as scary as I thought it would be,” said Kraft. “The inmates were hungry for people to tell them about the Word.”
Kraft said such a venue gave him a “renewed sense of purpose” for what he does with Jericho Railroad. “We’re a band that will play for two or 2,000,” he said.

• For more information, visit www.jerichorailroad.com or myspace.com/jeffgodd67.

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