Cold Train rocks in Southern style

By Lauri Voter - Staff Writer
Union - posted Thu., Aug. 18, 2011
Cold Train plays at Riverside 159 in Windsor on July 31. The Union-based Southern Rock tribute band was formed by Tim Goodhall and opens for national acts. Photos by Lauri Voter.
Cold Train plays at Riverside 159 in Windsor on July 31. The Union-based Southern Rock tribute band was formed by Tim Goodhall and opens for national acts. Photos by Lauri Voter.

As individuals, these six men seem pretty typical. They have day jobs, they have professions, they have families. At least one has an MBA. At least two are grandfathers. Their names are John Brasile, Jay Cappadoro, Tim Goodhall, Joe Paul, Trent Robbins and Phil Tsihlis.

As a group, they have been heard on live radio, they have been seen on public television. They are based in one of Connecticut's smallest towns, but they have a big sound. They are talented and they entertain enthusiastic audiences with their all-American, Southern rock style. They are Cold Train.

The band's keyboardist, Jay Cappadoro, is an engineer and a New York native with 50 years of experience playing keyboards, both piano and organ. He was a member of Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge Band. He also “played a lot of clubs,” he said, along with the wedding circuit in New York, until he moved to Massachusetts, where he continued to play.

He hooked up with Cold Train nearly seven years ago, when Goodhall called him, responding to an advertisement Cappadoro had placed in the paper. “It was a good call,” said Cappadoro. “I've had to really learn a new style of playing. It's been a challenge, and it's been fun.”

Cappadoro likes playing outdoor and large venues. “I've been playing so long, I can't not play,” said Cappadoro. “If I had one dream, it would be to play with the Allman Brothers.”

Trent Robbins has been playing guitar since he was 12. This Massachusetts native played in bands throughout central Massachusetts and taught guitar lessons before joining Cold Train, which he describes as “awesome.”

Robbins, who obtained his MBA a few months ago, works as a business consultant. His chapter with Cold Train began after he sat in for one of the regular band members more than three years ago.

He said Cold Train's specialty is to warm up national acts. As a tribute band, it performs music that falls into a “complex genre.” Robbins, an admirer of musicians and music of the '70s, said, “We're just paying homage to it.”

Drummer Phil Tsihlis has been with the band for just over a year. He was searching for a tribute band when he found Cold Train and joined up. The engineering program manager said he has been playing the drums for at least 40 years. As part of Cold Train, he has already realized one of his dreams by opening for .38 Special. Now, he has his sights set on playing on the annual Lynyrd Skynyrd cruise that sails out of Florida.

Tim Goodhall seems to be the tie that binds. Having poured his heart and soul into starting this Southern rock tribute band, Goodhall is its life force, its harmonica-playing vocalist and band leader.

In 1984, Goodhall joined the Union/Stafford-based band, Nightlife. He played harmonica, keyboard and, he said, “whatever else I could do to help out.” He said that, since then, he has been lucky enough to “sit in” and play harmonica with “big names in the music world” that include Kris Kristofferson, James Montgomery, The Commander Cody Band and musicians who played with the Blues Brothers, Steve Miller and Grateful Dead bands.

Goodhall began focusing on Cold Train in 1997. He started out with Stafford talent. When the locals left the group, he kept on recruiting to keep the band alive.

Of his current ensemble, Goodhall said that he has “top-notch, talented players” with professional touring experience. Cold Train has opened for The Outlaws, Lone Star, Commander Cody Band, .38 Special and the Oak Ridge Boys, and has toured the northeast, playing motorcycle events and fairs. Cold Train has also begun creating some original works, which are currently under copyright.

A native of Union - Connecticut's least-populated town - this small town guy's goal for his band is to take it on the road, and make a good living. It stands to reason that Goodhall's dream gig is down south. He wants Cold Train to perform at Bike Week in Daytona, Fla.
Local residents will have the opportunity to hear this band play the main stage at the Woodstock Fair on Sept. 2 at 4:30 p.m., when Cold Train will open for Head East and Foghat.

For more information, or to contact Tim Goodhall and Cold Train, visit

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