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Last Train Home

Last Train Home

"One of the country's most formidable roots-rock bands."
 
That's the assessment of Nashville's Tennessean newspaper about Last Train Home. And while roots-rock is at the heart of LTH's sound, don't overlook the country, bluegrass, swing, blues, folk, pop, and Tin Pan Alley influences you'll find if you lend this band an ear. What began as a part-time band in Washington D.C. back in 1997 has evolved into an acclaimed full-time touring group based out of Nashville.

Over the years, Last Train Home has included many superb musicians, including:
Jim Gray: Bass
Kevin Cordt: Trumpet
Tom Mason: Electric guitar
Dave Van Allen: Pedal steel
Tim Carroll:  Guitar
Paul Griffith:  Drums
Eric Fritsch: Guitar, keyboards
Chris Watling: Saxophone, accordion
Pete Finney: Pedal steel
Martin Lynds: Drums
Steve Wedemeyer: Electric guitar
Jared Bartlett: Electric guitar
Scott McKnight: Electric guitar
Jen Gunderman: Keyboards, accordion
Bill Williams: Electric guitar
Alan Brace: Mandolin, harmonica
Doug Derryberry: Guitars, keyboards, mandolin

The band has played more than a thousand shows over the years, including tours of Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and the Virgin Islands. With its 11 releases, Last Train Home is a prolific band that gets better with each release, and continues to be one of the most interesting bands on the landscape of American music.

Last Good Kiss

Last Good Kiss

Eric Brace: Acoustic guitar, lead vocals
J. Carson Gray: Electric bass
Martin Lynds: Drums, percussion, backing vocals
Steve Wedemeyer: Electric guitars, acoustic guitar, baritone guitar, 12-string electric guitar
Jen Gunderman: Piano, accordion, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B-3,
Wurlitzer, vibraphone, percussion, backing vocals
Kevin Cordt: Trumpet

with:
Claire Small: Backing vocals ("The Color Blue")
Tom Mason: Banjo ("You")

Recorded at 16 Ton studios, Nashville, TN

1. Last Good Kiss

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Lyrics

EB says: I started playing this chord progression at a sound check while touring Germany in Oct. 2005, and Steve just started rocking out over it, and sounding amazing, so I knew it had to become a full song. It's about struggling with weakness to find your strength, and Steve's guitar underlines that. The title is taken from a great James Crumley novel. Check it out. You gave me every indication
You gave me reason to hope
But I found out the hard way I was dreaming
And eveyrthing was different when I woke up

Can't fight with a broken promise
Won't die with a broken heart
Days are going, going, gone
So I know you'll excuse me if I move, move on

I know they say don't push the river
And now I know exactly what they mean
I can't make you love me so I'll stop trying
But I hope you know you'll always be inside, inside of me

Can't fight with a broken promise
Won't die with a broken heart
Days are going, going, gone
So I know you'll excuse me
I know you'll excuse me
I know

I try to act strong, but it's a lie
Some days I fake it pretty good
But then again sometimes
Sometimes I call and I hang up
And I knock on your door just to wake you up
I guess what I'm saying is if you hear this
Is babe, can I have one last good kiss

Can't fight with a broken promise
Won't die with a broken heart
Days are going, going, gone
So I know you'll excuse me if I move, move on

2. Flood

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Lyrics

EB says: I wrote this a few years back, and we even recorded it during the "Time and Water" sessions, but it just didn't feel right so we left it off that record. That earlier version appeared on the benefit compilation, "Parkinsong Volume One: 38 Songs of Hope," but this new recording is absolutely spot on. As a songwriter, it's one of the songs I'm most proud of. Nothing I know can help me here today
Nothing I could say or do could change things anyway
Time, time, time, see what's become of me
Standing by the river on the rise

Why didn't the weatherman warn me
I didn't have a clue
Love comes down like a big storm
And I don't see a break in the clouds

Pull me into the river
And over the falls
Whatever you do
Don't let go
Let the water carry us away

Sometimes when I'm floating
Underneath the night sky
I barely remember the night sky
I'll never go back, I get what I need from the water
I get what I need from you

Pull me into the river
And over the falls
Whatever you do
Don't let go
Let the water carry us away

Credits:

Written by Eric Brace

3. Anywhere But Here

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Lyrics

EB says: Another one that started with just a strummed chord progression at a sound check sometime last year. I wrote it after a long stretch of listening to a lot of Tom T. Hall. I tried to channel him. Jen takes a Rhodes solo and plays so deliberately behind the beat, it's a masterpiece of time manipulation. Gimme a ride to the train station
I'll get out of your hair
I'll get on the next one leaving
Going anywhere
Anywhere, anywhere but here

Drop me off at the bus depot
I'll pay the fare
I'll pretend that my heart's not breaking
When I get on and go
Anywhere, anywhere but here

You won't tell me why
You don't want me by your side
But my eyes are open wide

Tell you what, I'll use my feet
And I'll say goodbye
Point me in a new direction
Tired of wondering why
Why I'm going anywhere but here

You won't tell me why
You don't want me by your side
But my eyes are open wide

Tell you what, I'll use my feet
And I'll say goodbye
Point me in a new direction
Tired of wondering why
Why I'm going anywhere but here
Still I'm going anywhere but here

5. Go Now

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Lyrics

EB's thoughts: At first, all I had to this song were the first two lines. The lyrics told me it should be in 3/4 time, so I was messing around with some rowdy, Pogues-like waltzes, but it wasn't working out. I finished the lyrics the night before our last rehearsal before hitting the recording studio, and I still didn't have anything concrete about the arrangement, and barely had a melody and a chord change. At that final rehearsal, I played it for the band, winging some chord changes and the melody. We kept slowing it down and slowing it down and reworking the instrumentation until we got it to where it is here. Jen's solo at the end makes me cry. Lyrics: At the break of the day it's good luck and godspeed
I've got some advice but it's less that you'll need
You'll find the road long so wear the good shoes
And find a good song to chase off the blues

You think you don't know, but you really do
Which direction to go
I see your eyes with questions and hope
A flame starting to grow


I see your hands on your old guitar
You'll grow a thick skin and you'll break a few hearts
Singing to drunks at the end of the bar
............

Whatever you find there, wherever you are
Will fill up your heart til it aches
Be brave enough to let it all in
And always give more that you take

At the end of the day, you'll be miles away
I hope that you get a good start
I'll be where you left me, but I'll be inside you
Way down deep in your heart


I see your hands on your old guitar
You'll grow a thick skin but they'll still break your heart
don't get too drunk at the end of the bar
Pick up your bags and go now
Just pick up your bags and go now

6. May

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Lyrics

This song started out much faster. At rehearsals, it never quite came together. We tried slowing it down, playing it like a half-time Neil Young song, all kinds of things. Then in the studio, when we were about to roll tape (or whatever they say in this digital age), and we thought we knew how were were going to do it, Martin started playing this slow groove, and we all just played along to it. We all kind of looked at each other and said, "Okay, let's try it *this* way instead." And we did. And that's what you hear. This is a song for my father who died May 19, 2004. Some of the words are his. What a day, what a long day
Moving things around
In a car on the way home
Floating off the ground

Here's a house and a backyard
Different now somehow
What a sky, what a blue sky
A little darker now

And you don't, you don't
You don't remember days
Only the moment
But the moment goes
When the moment goes
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

What a sound, what a strange sound
Meet me in the trees
Holding on for dear life
What a beautiful life

Let's go down to the ocean
Take a dip in the sea
This is my skin
But is it really me

And you dont, you don't
You don't remember days
Only the moment
But the moment goes
When the moment goes
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

Let's go down to the ocean
Push against the wind
So many things to say
But where to begin
Where to begin

7. You

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Lyrics

It's a love song, and I didn't even realise I was echoing the Beatles until I heard it on the radio: "It's getting better all the time..." This pop song seemed to cry out for horns and harmonies and such, and after we recorded them, we started listening hard, and during the mix-down, we just kept stripping it all away. We even took out my acoustic guitar. What we're left with is a recording as intimate as the sentiment of the lyrics. So hard keeping it together
It's easier to let it fall apart
How does the center ever hold?

Up the mountain I'm pushing boulders
Trying to keep my head on my shoulders
Oldest story ever told

Some days are easier than others
And some days I stay under covers
It seems to be getting better
The only reason I can think of is you, you, you

Cup of coffee then one more
Maybe then I'll learn what it's all for
From where I stand it's hard to tell

Fill the bucket one drop at a time
Then fill the next one in line
Hope there's water in the well

Some days are easier than others
And some days I stay under covers
It seems to be getting better
The only reason I can think of is you, you, you

I'm not asking you to save me
I'm just hoping you'll stay awhile
Hoping you'll stay forever

Some days are easier than others
And some days I stay under covers
It seems to be getting better
The only reason I can think of is you, you, you

8. I'm Coming Home

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Lyrics

Another love song, maybe the first honest one I've ever written. I was so short, we just kept on playing that outtro. Jen created this lovely pattern that repeated and changed and built a beautiful happy ending. I hit the road
It hit me back
I had to know
Now that's that
But knowing has a price
And I have paid it
But I don't mind
It brought me here to you

I'm coming home and it feels right
I'm coming home, be back tonight
I'm coming home with a heart wide open
I'm not scared anymore

When she paints
I wonder what she's thinking
When she smiles
I wonder why she smiles
The truth is
I don't need to know the answer
I don't need to ever ask

I'm coming home and it feels right
I'm coming home, be back tonight
I'm coming home with a heart wide open
I'm not scared anymore

I lie awake
And watch her breathe
I touch her skin
She turns my way
Eyes open
I can see them shining
I was blind
But now I see

I'm coming home and it feels right
I'm coming home, be back tonight
I'm coming home with a heart wide open
I'm not scared anymore

I'm home, and I know it's right
I'm home, I'm here tonight
I'm home with a heart wide open
I'm not scared anymore

9. Kissing Booth

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Lyrics

This one started fast, a shuffle similar to "Last Good Kiss," but we messed around with it at rehearsals, and Martin and Jim found this lilting groove and it fit the sentiment. A more abstract lyric than most of mine, I could connect the dots a little more clearly I suppose, but that wouldn't be any fun. Tied my dreams in a sailor's 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 cracked 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
But time is a train on an endless track
A bagge 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 on a ferris wheel
We always come back down to the ground

Standing in line at the kissing booth
Waiting for a kiss that tells the truth
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
We always come back down to the ground

10. Marking Time

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Lyrics

An older song that we completely revamped in rehearsals, tossing out a couple different bridges, and rocking it out harder. The second verse has some lyrics I stole from Shawn Colvin. Here's how: In Boston in the early '80s there was a folk music show on the Emerson College radio station, and I remembered hearing a song by a woman that had the lyrics, "sittin' in a bar and I'm almost broke, choking on emotion and cigarette smoke........ I'm talking to you...." And I'd never heard of the singer, and I barely remembered that song, but years later that lyric came in my head and i shifted it around a little into what became the second verse of "Marking Time." I'd complete forgotten about my thievery, until one night I was doing a solo opener gig at the Black Cat in D.C. I was opening for Boston songstress Mary Lou Lord. By incredible coincidence, I opened my set with "Marking Time," and then *she* opened *her* set with "I'm Talking to You," by Shawn Colvin, talking first about what a huge influence Colvin was on her. I stood there watching Mary Lou sing, and I could hardly believe what I was hearing. So I apologise to Shawn for stealing her lyric, and I thank her at the same time. And I thank Mary Lou for singing it that night. And I thank LTH for bringing my version of that lyrics (and all my other lyrics) to life. Let's walk through the graveyard
Look for the headstones that have our names
Rows and rows of angels and flowers
Who'll remember our finest hours

Hey, oh,
We're marking time
With our love affairs and our alibis

Sitting in a bar, pretty near broke
Blowing our circles from my cigarette smoke
No good news on the news this morning
Just the weatherman with another storm warning

Hey, oh
We're marking time
Pour me one for the road and walk a straight line

Miss the turn off the freeway home
Paralysed by the solid white line
I'll keep driving 'til I'm off the map
Stare into the headlights that blind my eyes

Hey, oh
We're marking time
I've got a full tank and a cheap disguise

Hey, oh
We're marking time

11. The Color Blue

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Lyrics

I brought this in to rehearsals as a strummy folkie thing, and the band turned it into this very cool tropical breeze. Two Nashville songwriting friends helped out: Thad Cockrell helped me chart a melody, and Colleen McFarland helped me tweak some lyrics. I like ending the album with this one.... leaving the musical question, "what next?" hanging in the air somehow. Another time, another place
Another day and I can see your face
So clearly

Hold the line, hold the door
Hold your breath and ask for more and more
Like I do

Pick a card, any card
Hold it close so no one else can see
What I see

Turn your head, look away
Did I hear words you didn't say
Maybe

You always knew
The color blue

You always knew
The color blue
You always knew
That I did too

Another time
Another place

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