Americana Highways presents this premiere of Eric Brace & Last Train Home’s holiday song “By the Lights on the Tree” (Red Beet Records).
“By the Lights on the Tree” is Eric Brace on acoustic guitar and vocals; Jared Bartlett on electric guitar; Kevin Cordt on trumpet; Jim Gray on electric bass; Martin Lynds on drums and sleigh bells; Scott McKnight on baritone guitar and organ; Dave Van Allen on pedal steel guitar; Chris Watling on saxophone and Bill Williams on banjo and harmony vocals.
The song was recorded by Cowboy Keith Thompson, Matt Tebo, Jared Bartlett, Eric Brace, Scott McKnight, Bill Williams, and Dave Van Allen; mixed by Jared Bartlett; mastered by Alex McCollough and True East Mastering, with cover artwork by Bill Thompson Design.
With details of a story rich with meaning, Eric Brace has created a Christmas sequel to break your heart. There’s no way to avoid tearing up at the passage of time and the nostalgia of song’s characters. Last Train Home creates a potent musical energy that comes with the stripped down version of their larger, quality band; they all know how to play without an ounce of overdoing it.
Twenty years ago I wrote a song called ‘Christmas in St. Paul’ for Last Train Home’s record, Holiday Limited. It’s the story of a Minnesota holiday party, a kind of simmered down short story. Every now and then, in the years since, I’ve wondered what’s happened in the lives of some of those characters. “By the Lights of the Tree” answers some of the questions, twenty years on. (I worked up quite a detailed backstory, all the jobs and moves and schools and deaths and births, but that all falls under the category of “Life Happens.”) — Eric Brace