Eric Brace & Last Train Home – Everything Will Be
With its origins in Washington, DC (1997) this alt-country-roots band has taken on varied musical shapes since its inception. It has slowly developed into an exceptional unit that dips its big toe into varied genres with expressive results. Roots, Tin Pan Alley, swing, bluegrass, folk, a pinch of punk — performed with energetic verve & a high musical gleam.
Their latest is 11-cuts with some choice covers. Their music provides a consistently rootsy musical flavor. Everything Will Be (Drops Jan 14– Red Beet Records) was produced by Jared Bartlett (electric/acoustic guitars) & Eric Brace (lead/harmony vocals/acoustic guitar).
In earlier reviews, I compared Last Train Home to the rural compositions of The Band & Farm Dogs (with Bernie Taupin) but over time Last Train Home has developed further into its own stable showcase. There are tints of early Marshall Tucker Band, Ozark Mountain Dare Devils & Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (on LTH’s “Lily of the Day”). However…
As on cut 1 “Everything Will Be,” the group’s originality shines brilliantly as they add bittersweet trumpet (Kevin Cordt) — a nice touch.
“Language,” is a quiet, well-sung ballad with bursts of sax & trumpet that’s well punctuated & arranged. Years ago, the English pub-rock band Brinsley Schwartz with Nick Lowe used to add such songs to their own showcase (“Country Girl,” “The Slow One,” & “Funk Angel,”).
Each song is elegantly arranged with featured instrumentation that gives each song its signature sound (“Just a Moment,” with its piano/banjo), a Dixieland-exploration on “If I Had a Nickle,” is an upbeat surprise. Well done.
Covers include a well-performed old John Hartford tune “The Six O’clock Train and a Girl with Green Eyes,” – this is so well-revised as to sound like a new song. A Johnny Mercer oldie “I’m an Old Cowhand (From the Rio Grande).”
An infectious Benny Gallagher-Graham Lyle tune (from the Scottish band McGuinness Flint), “When I’m Dead & Gone” is expertly rendered & reinvented to a pristine luster. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
Last Train Home features Jim Gray (electric bass), Martin Lynds (drums/percussion), Scott McKnight (electric, baritone & nylon string guitars/keys), David Van Allen (pedal steel guitar), Chris Watling (tenor/baritone saxes/accordion), Bill Williams (acoustic guitar/ukulele/harmonica/harmony vocals/banjo). Special guests are David Henry (violin/viola/cello/string arrangement), Thomm Jutz (acoustic guitar & piano), Kevin McKendree (piano/Hammond organ), Karl Straub (electric guitar) & Laura Tsaggaris (backing vocals on 2 songs).
As with all Last Train Home LPs the songs resonate, they’re well-articulated & performed. There’s little showboating, everything is filtered through a musical colander to refine each melody, each vocal, & present it to near perfection.
Eric Brace & Last Train Home – as usual, expect the unexpected & be entertained.
Color image courtesy of Strathmore. The 46-minute CD is available @ https://redbeetrecords.com/
Enjoy our earlier interview with Eric Brace here: Key to the Highway: Eric Brace
And a show review, here: Show Review: Last Train Home/ Eric Brace, Thomm Jutz Regale the Rams Head in New Year Reminiscence