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Bound Away

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.

Bound Away

Bound Away

Produced by Jared Bartlett
Studio engineering by Jared Bartlett at Stage Right Studio (Vienna,VA), Assembly Line Studio (Vienna, VA), and Dragonfly (Haymarket, VA).

Additional studio engineering by Jason Hall at The Parlor (Nashville, TN), and Tony Alany at Assembly Line Studio.

Studio assistance from Scott Spelbring (Dragonfly).

Mixed by Jared Bartlett at Stage Right Studio (Vienna, VA)

Mastered by Fred Kevorkian (New York City)

CD booklet design by Bill Thompson

Cover photograph : Rosslyn Metro Station, Getty Images



In memory of Paul Brace, 1923-2004

1. Marlene

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Lyrics

Eric played in Kevin Johnson's band, the Linemen, several years back, as did fellow LTH-ers Bill Williams and Scott McKnight. Bill and Eric played on Kevin's own recording of it, on his superb "Memphis for Breakfast" release. In addition, Alan, Dave, Alice Despard and Eric used to play in a very raucus, eclectic D.C. band called the Beggars, and they used to play this one too. The song is so good, we just couldn't leave it be. Kevin's from Arkansas, and the Palestine in the song is a small railroad town in his home state, not a reference to that somewhat better known Palestine in the news so much these days. Before you get on that fast moving train to Palestine
Won't you give me an area code, yeah I might want to call you sometime
When I'm not feeling quite as removed as I do today
When I'm not feeling reckless and rude and carried away

So when you're daydreaming down the road somewhere
Find a good time and remember me there
Give a little charity
Marlene

Before I thought I had more to lose than we had to gain
Before I started to half understand the politics of pouring rain
I thought that faith, hope, and miracles could pull us through
Didn't know loving so fine could treat you so cruel

Before you get on that fast moving train to Palestine
Won't you take down my number, babe, yeah you might want to call me sometime
When you're not feeling quite as removed as you do today
When you're not feeling hopeless and blue and carried away

2. Dog On The East Side

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Lyrics

In East Nashville, you'll see dogs roaming around freely, solo and in packs, and you can definitely hear them at night, often near a particular railroad track that runs through the neighborhood near our favorite hang out/club/restaurant there, the Family Wash. Those tracks have gotten under our skin. This started out as just a couple of chords, but it finally took shape in Martin's East Nashville garage. Puck and Brandi barking at the end live in Scott's Alexandria, VA, neighborhood, however. I hear dogs on the east side, they're angry and they bark
They're angry at the moon and the trains
That roll by in the dark

All of a sudden the rumble starts
Red lights flash and the gate comes down
Watching a hundred cars go rolling out of town

And I'm desperate, 'cause inside I'm howling too
Every time I hear that train go by
I get lonesome and blue

No more waiting, the rumble starts
Red lights flash and the gate comes down
Reach out and grab the ladder, I'm rolling out of town

She walks the rails like a tightrope
Steps on reflections of the moon
And you don't even have to tell her
She knows he'll be there soon

3. Hendersonville

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Lyrics

Soon after Johnny Cash died, Eric drove up to Hendersonville, TN. He went to the municipal cemetery and asked where Johnny and June were buried. The man pointed up a low rise. "They're right up there, beside that tree." There was no gravestone yet over Johnny, just freshly turned dirt. The stone beside him was for June Carter Cash. There was no one else around. About two weeks later, driving up I-81 through Virginia, this song appeared in Eric's head, pretty much full-blown, the way songwriters everywhere pray that songs will come. As soon as he got up to Washington, he grabbed a guitar and made sure it all held together. Back in Nashville, Martin and Jim came up with the half-time groove, and we had ourselves a song. Lay me down up on the hill
With my wildwood blossom still
Side by side, beneath the dirt
In a place where nothing hurts
Finally somewhere nothing hurts

Lay me down beneath the stone
Say goodbye to skin and bone
Guess I'll find out where you go
I get so weary when I roam
Am I on my way back home

Lay be down in clothes of black
I'm moving on, I can't look back
'Cause I'm following right behind my true love
I can't make her wait to long
No, she's already waited to long

Lay me down in Tennessee
Where my grave will always be
But my soul, my soul is here among
In every song Ive sung
It's in all the songs we've ever sung

You lift me up when you lay me down
Six white horses coming round
And she's riding, riding with a smile
Singing 'We shall fly away in the morning
Oh, John, let's fly away'

Fly away, fly away
Fly away, fly away
Like two birds from these prison walls
We shall fly away, O Glory
We shall fly away

4. Tonight I'll Be Staying H...

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Lyrics

It goes without saying that "Nashville Skyline" is one of our favorite Dylan records. We've always wanted to record this one. Voila Throw my ticket out the window
Throw my suitcase out there too
Throw my troubles out the door
I don't need them anymore
'Cause tonight I'll be staying here with you

I should have left this town this morning
But it was more than I could do
Your love comes on so strong
And I've waited all day long
For tonight, when I'll be staying here with you

Is it any wonder
The love a stranger might receive
You cast your spell and I went under
I find it difficult to leave

I can hear that whistle blowing
I hear the stationmaster too
If there's a poor boy on the street
Then let him have my seat
'Cause tonight I'll be staying here with you

5. Rye Whiskey

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Lyrics

There are so many versions of this old, old song, it's hard to say when it really seeped into our consciousness. The version Eric actually learned it from was Jessie Colin Young's, on his "Soul of a City Boy" album. Eric altered the rhythm and the chord progression. Jeff Lang's slide guitar playing is haunting, and Washington jazz vibes genius Chuck Redd (Charlie Byrd's longtime drummer) lays down some subtle lines. For work I'm too lazy, and beggin's too slow
Train robbin's too dangerous, a'gamblin' I'll go

Rye whiskey, rye whiskey
Rye whiskey I cry
If I don't get rye whiskey
I surely will die, I surely will die

Sometimes I drink whiskey, sometimes I drink wine
Ten thousand ol' bottles I've killed in my time
I eat when I'm hungry, I drink when I'm dry
If the women don't kill me, I'll live 'til I die

So if I get to drinking, you know the booze is my own
And them that don't like it can leave me along
Jack o' diamands, jack o' diamonds, I know you of old
You robbed my poor pockets of silver and gold

6. To Her Door

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Lyrics

Eric and Alan opened for Paul Kelly at the Birchmere (Alexandria, VA) in the early '90s, and LTH went to see him perform in Melbourne during our Austrailan tour in Nov. 2001. He's a hero. A role model. An inspiration. He does more different styles really well than almost anyone out there. This song was one of his biggest hits in Australia. We love it and thought we'd give it a shot. They got married early, never had no money
Then when he got laid off they really hit the skids
He started up his drinking, then they started fighting
He took it pretty badly, she took both the kids

She said I'm not standing by to watch you slowly die
So watch me walking out the door

She went to her brother's, got a little bar work
He went to the Buttrey, stayed about a year
Then he wrote a letter, said I wanna see you
She thought he sounded better and she sent him up the fare

He was riding through the cane, in the pouring rain
On Olympic to her door

He came in on a Sunday, every muscle aching
Walking in slow motion like he'd just been hit
Did they have a future? Would he know his children?
Could he make a picture and get 'em all to fit?

He was shaking in his seat, riding through the streets
In a Silvertop taxi to her door

7. They Dance Real Close There

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Lyrics

We've performed and recorded several Karl Straub songs over the years. He's one of the great songwriters of our time, but he keeps a low profile in D.C. Martin, Jim, and Scott have all played in his band the Graverobbers. This is one the 'Robbers rarely played, and which Karl was gracious enough to allow LTH to record before he did. An amazing tune in 6/8 time, it's a cautionary tale of "bright lights, big city," but with indecipherably ominous--and perhaps even comic--undertones. Wake up, Sadie, he's took off
I looked in the barn and the horses are gone
He's broken a whole bunch of bottles
Don't go in the kitchen without your shoes on

Figure he'll head for the city he spoke of
Grocery stores open all hours of the night
Buildings so tall that they scrape the moons shoulders
And carrot-topped jezebels singing in bars 'til it's light

If he?s drunk he won?t get too far
If he?s drunk he won?t get too far
If he?s drunk he won?t get too far away from town

We?ll borrow a team from Bill Thompson
Better get water and food for the road
Father?s old gun is still locked up
I think I recall how you get it to load

Boxes of bullets out back with the flour sacks
We oughta get started if we?re gonna go
So put on your coat and we?ll fly past the corn
And the fields and the houses of all of the people we know

If he?s drunk he won?t get too far
If he?s drunk he won?t get too far
If he?s drunk he won?t get too far away from town

The city is loud and it?s lit like a dream
And they dance real close there
Harlots are waiting to poison a man if he goes there

You are a slip of a girl
And you don?t know a thing about what people do
Mother would never forgive me
If I let anything happen to you

The city is no place for hicks of for angels
They steal all your money and dance on your grave
I don?t want you to see all those short skirts and makeup
Sadie, I think you should stay here and try to be brave

If he?s drunk he won?t get too far
If he?s drunk he won?t get too far
If he?s drunk he won?t get too far away from town

8. Gravedigger's Blues

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Lyrics

Washington D.C.'s finest acoustic bluesman was the late John Jackson, who was also a longtime gravedigger. Eric had long thought of trying to write a song from his perspective on the world. Hanging around the incredible Jeff Lang inspired him to write something for Lang to go nuts on. Those two things come together here, the first thing Eric ever wrote on electric guitar. It was written soon after we played some gigs with our pals the Tarbox Ramblers, and Eric is reasonably sure Michael Tarbox's songs weres an inspiration on this one as well. They say the sun will rise up every single day
But I don't know where it goes at night so I'm not going to say
You can talk about taxes, but I know there's them that don't pay
The rich get richer with what they got, it's easy to find a way

But that don't matter 'cause I promise you
We all end up six feet down

Well I know your time is coming and I know you know it too
So if you're feeling bad for what you've done, time is running out on you
You can tell it on the mountain, you can whisper to the hills, you better hurry
'cause every minute leaves a wound but the last one always kills

I'm not a prophet of doom
But we all end up six feet down
Yeah we all end up six feet down

You wonder how I know
See the shovel in my hands
I'm a gravedigger
And I've seen how it all ends

I've seen lovers hit by lightening, I?ve seen old men in their beds
I've seen way too many people dying from a little piece of lead
I guess you got to have a lesson here, a moral to my tale
How 'bout the only one, thou shalt not kill
And maybe you won't go straight to hell

Heaven's another conversation
But we all end up six feet down
Yeah we all end up six feet down

Well I know your time is coming and I know you know it too
So if you're feeling bad for what you've done, time is running out on you
You can tell it on the mountain, you can whisper to the hills, you better hurry
?cause every minute leaves a wound but the last one always kills

I wish I could tell you something else
But we all end up six feet down
Yeah we all end up six feet down
Yeah we all end up six feet down

9. Flipping Quarters

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Lyrics

With its references to payphones that only cost a quarter, this song is clearly an older tune (Eric wrote it back around 1994). We've been kicking it around awhile, and finally decided to record it with Jeff Lang when he came through D.C Take these memories, I can't use them anymore
Take this bottle, before I end up on the floor
Pull me to my feet and point me out the door

It's easy to drown a question at the bottom of a glass
It's easy for a friend to say it's hard but it won't last
You know, hindsight doesn't help me now
And the pain doesn't sink

If I call will you answer, will you talk to me
I'm flipping quarters by the pay phone
But don't ask me are you drinking
And don't tell me I'll get over you
Say that with time we might find some time again

I guess you must really think this is the right thing to do
But just for the record every word I said is true
And I hope they're running through your head and making it hard to sleep

If I call will you answer, will you talk to me
I'm flipping quarters by the pay phone
But don't ask me are you drinking
And don't tell me I'll get over you
Say that with time we might find some time again

When I call will you answer, will you talk to me
I'm slipping in a quarter with a prayer
But don't ask me are you drinking
And don't tell me I'll get over you
Say that with time we might find some time again
I know that with time we could find some time again

10. Matchbook Message

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Lyrics

One night Eric wandered into IOTA (our home club, in Arlington, VA) when our pal Amy Rigby was performing. He couldn't stay 'til the end so he scribbled a note saying "howdy" on a matchbook and asked the bartender to hand it to her after her set. He later sent her an e-mail and said "Did you get my matchbook message?" She wrote back and said, "That line sounds like a song that needs to be written." This short tune is what he worked up. Did you get my matchbook message
Written with a barman's pen
Did you get my matchbook message
Said I hope I see you again

We both felt something going on when we talked
You looked me in the eye
You cut it off when he walked in
You didn't say why

So I wrote you a matchbook message
Put it in the pocket of your coat
Did you get my matchbook message
Tell me did you like what I wrote

I buried it deep so it wouldn't fall out
Under your gloves
Maybe you really do like that guy
But you're not in love

Now I check my e-mail
Now I check my cell phone
Nothing yet, nothing yet
Remember what I can't forget

Yeah, you got my matchbook message
You answered back in the very same way
Yeah, you wrote me a matchbook message
I found it in my pocket today
It said call me Saturday

11. Train Of Love

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Lyrics

This slightly off-kilter rave-up shares its title with a Johnny Cash tune. We hope he doesn't mind. Note Dave channeling the Buckaroo's steel player Tom Brumley (specifically some riffs Tom played on a Rick Nelson session). Note Kevin's horn chart, channeling Dave's part (and something much farther out in space). Note insane musical snake, swallowing its tail. Regarding the weight of the train, Eric apologizes to all railroad people for getting it very wrong. Doing his research well after the song was written and recorded, he found out that a typical steam locomotive was nearly 200 tons. Perhaps he'll change the lyrics when LTH performs this one live, but "200" has more syllables than "20"... Train of love, train of love
Can I get a ride on the train of love
Train of love, train of love
Can I ride that train

Keep that boiler hot now
Shovel on a little more coal
Burn it up, yeah burn it up
Make this engine roll

Movin' down the tracks
In these 20 tons of steel
Better work that throttle
Better move that driving wheel

Train of love, train of love
Can I get a ride on the train of love
Train of love, train of love
Can I ride that train

Comin' 'round the mountain
Pickin' up a little more speed
Barely hangin' on the tracks
Well, you know what I need

I need to see your pretty face
I need to kiss your lips
I need to whisper in your ear
Tell you what I miss

I miss your
Train of love, train of love
Can I get a ride on the train of love
Train of love, train of love
Can I ride that train

12. Bound Away

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Lyrics

A melody in an open tuning (E - A - B - E - B - E for those of you keeping track) that has been in Eric's head a while. There were some lyrics for it, right at the end ("Away, away, I'm bound away") but the instrumental recording session of Eric, Martin, Jim and Jeff Lang was such an incredible live experience, we decided to leave it as is: as an instrumental. Hopefully some of the spine-tingling mystery that we felt in the studio during the taping has been captured on this recording. As to where the tune came from ,a few years ago Eric spent several months listening to nothing but "Good Dog, Happy Man," the CD by genius guitarist Bill Frisell. About the same time, He was reading A.B. Guthrie's brilliant novels of the early American West, "The Big Sky" and "The Way West." Somehow, both Frisell and Guthrie led him to "Bound Away." Away, away, I'm bound away

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.

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