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Eric Brace & Peter Cooper

Eric Brace & Peter Cooper

Grammy nominees Eric Brace & Peter Cooper have created a body of work that reflects their journalistic sensibilities, a love of harmony and wry humor, and their deep respect for the masters they've played with. 

2013 was a big year for Brace & Cooper. April marked the release of their third duo record, The Comeback Album, a sparkling collection that features the pair's splendid harmonies and deft storytelling.  In addition to The Comeback Album, Brace and Cooper each released solo projects. Peter Cooper’s Opening Day was heralded as “reflecting his witty, literate world views.” Eric Brace's “folk opera” set in the California gold rush, Hangtown Dancehall, premiered to a packed house at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville, TN in November 2013.

Prior to these hallmark releases, the duo forayed into the world of children's music with the Grammy-nominated I Love: Tom T. Hall's Songs of Fox Hollow. The album was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Weekend Edition,” in USA Today and the Chicago Sun-Times, and was named a Top 5 Americana album by Rich Kienzle in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Produced by Brace and Cooper, the album features performances by Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, Bobby Bare, Duane Eddy, Jim Lauderdale, Elizabeth Cook, as well as Brace, Cooper, and others.

Eric Brace & Peter Cooper’s previous collaborations include two other duo releases.  On Master Sessions the pair fronted a band that featured pedal steel guitar legend Lloyd Green and dobro master Mike Auldridge, and the album made numerous critics’ Best-of 2010 lists. Their first record together, You Don’t Have To Like Them Both, was a Top Ten album on the Roots, Americana, and Folk charts.

Brace and Cooper have acclaimed music careers outside their work as a duo.  Brace, a former music journalist for the Washington Post, leads the renowned roots rock band Last Train Home. Cooper, senior music writer for The Tennessean and professor of country music at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, has released three critically praised solo albums on Brace’s Red Beet Records label.

The duo has opened on large stages for John Prine, Nanci Griffith, Don Williams, Todd Snider, Rodney Crowell, Iris Dement, Chris Smither, Dan Tyminsky, Travis Tritt & Jerry Douglas, among others.  They've shared the stage with Tom T. Hall, Jim Lauderdale, Suzy Bogguss, Dan Navarro, Marshall Chapman, Kim Carnes, Emmylou Harris, and others.  They've recently played such U.S. festivals as Bristol Rhythm & Roots, Tin Pan South, Americana Music Festival, Folk Alliance International, 30A Songwriters, and Knoxville Rhythm and Blooms, as well as the Truck, Summertyne, and Maverick festivals in the U.K.  They are frequent guest DJ’s on the legendary WSM radio station in Nashville.

The Comeback Album

The Comeback Album
1. Ancient History

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Lyrics

Written by Eric Brace & Peter Cooper

Cassius Clay was Muhammad Ali
Bill Brown was Lovin’ Dan
Donnie Fritts was Funky Donnie Fritts
And Funky Donnie Fritts was The Alabama Leaning Man

James Smith was L.L. Cool J
Roanoke, Virginia is the Star City
Harold Grange was The Galloping Ghost
Harold Jenkins was Conway Twitty

Chorus: It is what it is
Not how it’s gotta be
From my point of obstructed view
We are who we are
Not who we’re gonna be
Every passing moment
Is ancient history

Ronald Crosby from New York State
Was a native Texan named Jerry Jeff Walker
Gene Chandler was the Duke of Earl
Lucille Le Sueur was Joan Crawford

George Herman Ruth was Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat
Ninja Tedd was Judo Jim
The Dig Dug Champion was Tommy Jalott

Chorus

Ervin Johnson was Magic Johnson
Larry Bird was a French Lick hick
Richard Starkey was Ringo Starr
Richard Nixon was Tricky Dick

Dick Trickle was a race car driver
Really, he was a race car driver
A talented and popular race car driver
Richard Anderson was Agent MacGyver

Frances Gumm was Judy Garland
Sid Bream was safe at home
The secret sauce was Thousand Island
The eighth world wonder was the Astrodome

Amelia Earhart was an aviatrix
Warren Mihachik was an angling champ
Frederick Douglass was an abolitionist
They put his face on a five cent stamp

Chorus

You are who you are
Now who you gonna be?
Every passing moment
Is ancient history

2. Ponzi Scheme

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Lyrics

Written by Eric Brace & Peter Cooper

Lost my sunbeam
In a Ponzi scheme
Don’t ask me how that works

And now every time I walk around
In town I see the smirks
She was a willowy girl
With a toothy grin
I was a hopeful man
I took it on the chin

Lost my sunbeam
In a Ponzi scheme
Don’t ask me how that works

Should have read the fine print
Devil’s in the details
I’m really not a fine-print guy

She threw a perfect pitch
Pulled a bait-and-switch
Maybe I turned a blind eye
Truth or dare, man, buyer beware
And I’m sorry ‘bout the whole big
Sordid affair

Should have read the fine print
Devil’s in the details
I’m really not a fine-print guy

Hey, hey, what did you say
No, no, it didn’t happen that way
I was good to her
She’s the one in the wrong here
I got the run around
Took my love and everything
That wasn’t bolted down

Rust and rubber
Hard concrete
That’s the view from under the bus

Just because she said it
Well, that did not make it thus
She’s a confident girl
In a confidence game
I am all the worse
And none the same

Rust and rubber
Hard concrete
That’s the view from under the bus

Lost my sunbeam
In a ponzi scheme
Don’t ask me how that works

3. Thompson Street

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Lyrics

Written by Peter Cooper and Baker Maultsby

Boss Hall’s house was a gathering place
Twenty men standing in the yard
Every afternoon there was something going on
But nobody was working too hard

Governor won’t let an old man be
City tore the Boss house down
Now it’s gravel and grass, no trespass
Bottlecaps on the ground

On Thompson Street, Thompson Street
Boss Hall lived on Thompson Street

Blues man walked with an old guitar
Singing bout greasy greens
Playing for the women and the quarters and the gin
Stirring up the neighborhood scene

On Thompson Street, Thompson Street
Pink Anderson played on Thompson Street

Take a right off Main
Chickens walking in the road
Kids waiting on the bus
Shivering in the cold
Go to school to learn
What the world’s all about
Then they go back to Thompson Street
When school lets out.

You got your good fried chicken at the Woodwards Café
Good fish at the Hamburg Delight
And the white folks come in the middle of the day but they stay away at night

From Thompson street, Thompson street
Hell, it gets a little rough on Thompson street
On Thompson Street, Thompson Street
Pink Anderson played on Thompson Street
On Thompson Street, Thompson Street
Boss Hall lived on Thompson Street

4. Johnson City

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Lyrics

Written by Eric Brace & Peter Cooper

Johnson City, Tennessee
I want to love you
But we always disagree
High on the hill
And I run off the rail
In a beautiful town with a terrible jail
Somebody call my baby
Tell her where you’re holding me

Johnson City, Tennessee
I didn’t hurt nobody
Excluding present company
I come to you with the best-laid plans
You come to me with a list of demands
I just wanna see my name on the
Old Down Home marquee

Chorus: I know the way to Johnson City
I know the way, no doubt
I know the way to Johnson City
Now I’ve gotta find the way out

Went to the mountain
Looking for proof
Talked to God
But he was sort of aloof
I said “You’re my favorite comedian,
But why you gotta work so blue?”
Praying on my knees
To get on my feet
He said something back
That I will not repeat
It’s a family show
Maybe you’ve got a family, too

Johnson City, Tennessee
I’m tryin’ to come clean
But it’s hard for the dust and debris
I drove so far to get where I am
Now you want me to stay
I say, please, no ma’am
If I have my vote
Then I’m gonna vote absentee

Chorus

5. Mad (featuring Duane Eddy, Mac...

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Lyrics

Written by Tom T. Hall

I got about half high so I spent the whole weekend out
I got home Sunday morning
Tore up like a can o’ kraut

There was a suitcase a’sittin’ on the steps
And I picked it up and ran and I ain’t a’been a’back home yet

Chorus: Mad, yeah she’s mad
A’ya talk about a doghouse
You shoulda heard the cussin’ I had
When she’s mad
That’s a dangerous game
In the obituary column
they’ve already printed my name

She’s five foot three and weighs about a hundred and eight
She’s the kind o’ gal that don’t believe in man a’makin mistakes
She’s sweet and she’s nice
But when she gets mad she’s got a voice that’ll cut through ice

Chorus

She’s got eyes like a kitten and she watches every move I make
An alarm clock mind that’s a’ringing every time I’m late
Well I’m sorry and I’m all alone
But I guess I’ll have to stick it out cause it just ain’t safe to go home.

Chorus

6. She Can't Be Herself

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Lyrics

Written by Peter Cooper and Chris Cooper

Home to her is just a town she’s always meant to leave
She dreams of heading west each time the colors turn
I thought whatever I thought back when I was that naive
Chalk it up to just another lesson learned

It’s not her fault though I won’t say that I don’t ever blame her
For trying to hide what I can clearly see
And I’m not right to try to change her ways, or try to shame her
She can’t be herself when she’s with me

Chorus: She can’t be herself when she’s with me
She’s told me so, so many times, but only silently
She’s unabashed and unconcerned, and needing to be free
And she can’t be herself when she’s with me

Home to me is just the town she’s always meant to leave
I dream she’s staying here each time I chance to dream
The passing of the winter’s chill is nothing she will grieve
I am just the bank along her winding stream

Chorus

7. Kissing Booth

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Lyrics

Written by Eric Brace

Tied my dreams in a sailors knot
Tried to remember all I forgot
Sent myself letters to tell the tale
But I’m still waiting on the morning mail
The few that knew are slipping away
A little more dust on a windy day

Sidewalk cracks below my feet
Looking for a friend on a busy street
He looks familiar and she does too
Looks like a woman that I once knew

Throwing our coins in the wishing well
Everybody pays for the kiss and tell
Floating up high in a blue, blue sky
We always come back down
To the ground

Where did the summer go
I’m still waiting on the afterglow
Time is a train on an endless track
Baggage coach painted black
Memory leans on a window sill
Looking for a little more time to kill

Who’s on the phone who wants to know
Got a bad connection might as well let go
Who took the money we’ll never tell
Who’s that ringing the mission bell

Standing in line at the kissing booth
Waiting for a kiss to tell the truth
Floating up high in a blue, blue sky
We always come back down to the ground

Throwing our coins in the wishing well
Everybody pays for the kiss and tell
Standing in line at the kissing booth
Waiting for a kiss to tell the truth
Floating up high in a blue, blue sky
We always come back down
Yeah we always come back down to the ground

8. Nobody Knows

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Lyrics

Written by Eric Brace & Peter Cooper

Baby took the bus from Baltimore
'Cause the Orioles were bumming her out
Headed north to New York City
And got scouted by a talent scout
Who said, "Babe, you got a face for radio
Mostly on account of your nose
Sign right here, I'll get you 50 grand a year Modeling for boxes of pantyhose."

Chorus: All I know is nobody knows
Nobody, nobody knows

Daddy took a cab on downtown
'Cause the daddy thing was bumming him out
Hard to be the head of the family
With a head so full of dread and debt and doubt
But he had himself a lottery ticket
And he bought himself a double gin
And a man came on the TV just to say
"Sorry, daddy, you're a loser again."

Chorus

Higher and higher
Sure, I've been way up there
They say you always will come down
They ain't been to my side of town
I have sought the thoughts of sages
Wittgenstein to Bobby Bare
Now I'm seeking not to seek so much
And swearing not to swear

Maybe there's a bountiful heaven
Maybe there's hope for the Orioles as well
But I would be a little wary, I believe Chuck Berry
Said it goes to show you never can tell
And if you never can tell, then I figure, oh well,
The best laid plans are stick in the craw
You pledge allegiance to whatever you alliege
I pledge allegiance to the luck of the draw

Chorus

9. Boxcars

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Lyrics

Written by Eric Brace & Peter Cooper

Streets are empty
There's no one around
They're all asleep in this
Sleepy old town
Streetlights they shine down
On nothing at all
My shift is done, I'm heading out
Gonna make last call

Chorus: Every dream is a boxcar
I've got a freight train
Every wish is an open road
And I'll drive forever
Every thought I have of you
Should bring you closer
Til you're here with me

The job is just a job
This bar just a bar
But I caught a pass ten years ago
So here I'm a star
But this star’s been dimming now these nine years and more
Since the only thing I wanted
walked out the door

Chorus

I had to stay, I guess I had to stay
You were already on your way

When you left you said
I'm not looking back
There ain’t much to see
And I know you saw that
Alone in this sad bar
At a quarter to two
With a movie playing in my head
That stars me and you

Chorus

10. Carolina

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Lyrics

Written by Karl Straub

Won’t I have to talk
Won’t I have to lie
Won’t I have to wake up and pour out a dream as rich as cream
I’ve never seen the coffee pour itself

Chorus: Carolina, you are three feet from your glass
Carolina, and a thousand miles away
Carolina, I don’t know what to say
Carolina, it’s wearing off again

Back a little while
Felt a different way
I could even see myself feeling that way
But I can’t feel it
No coffee I can drink to wake it up

Chorus x2

Carolina, it’s wearing off again

11. Sailor

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Lyrics

Written by Eric Brace & Peter Cooper

Well, I bought me a boat
Now I call myself a sailor
Watch me in my sailor hat
As I wave goodbye
Now I’m waiting for a good tide
To pull me from the harbor
and a strong wind to carry me away

Chorus: I make it up as I go
Where I'm going I don't know
I don't know and I don't care
I'll find out when I get there

Now I'm happy in my little boat
But you say that's illusion
Just a sweet little story
That I tell myself every day
And I got a tattoo of an anchor
up around my shoulder
and another of a bird as it flies away

Chorus

Now I'm staring out the porthole
In the darkest dead of night
With no moon or stars to show me the horizon
I’m getting cold and I’m thinking back
On everything I left behind
And I set a course into the sun that's finally rising

It took a while, now I know
Yeah, I know just where to go
Got no time to spare
If I'm going to find you there
I've got no time to spare

12. Rain Just Falls

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Lyrics

Written by David Halley

In the still of the night all the feeling inside me
Is concealing any sight from sore eyes
And a bell’s distant tolling only keeps my mind open
To the half-truths that are always half lies

Well it might be the sound of a shell I once found
Or some kind of tumbling down wall
But it ain’t on your account that I’m leaving, if I’m leaving
Rain don’t fall for the flowers if it’s falling
Rain just falls

Oh, to have and to hold you I remember I told you
That always ‘til death do us part
But I can’t touch that time, I know I’m out of my mind
And I’m feeling like I’m out of my heart

Well it might be the word of a prophet I once heard
Or some kind of long distance call
But it ain’t on your account that I’m leaving, if I’m leaving
Rain don’t fall for the flowers if it’s falling
Rain just falls

Well it might be the sound of a shell I once found
Or some kind of long distance call
But it ain’t on your account that I’m leaving, if I’m leaving
Rain don’t fall for the flowers if it’s falling
Rain just falls

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