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Cartes Postales

Eric Brace

A Grammy-nominated producer, the front man of the acclaimed roots-rock band Last Train Home, half of a duo with songsmith Peter Cooper, and founder of East Nashville indie label Red Beet Records, Eric Brace is a prolific and admired artist.

A former music journalist for the Washington Post, Brace relocated to Nashville in 2003 for a full-time musical life. With Last Train Home, he has released eight records and one live concert DVD. After moving to Nashville, Brace began touring and recording with duo partner Peter Cooper, and the pair has three much-lauded albums to their credit. You Don’t Have To Like Them Both (2008) was a #1 album on the Freeform American Roots Chart, Top Five on the Folk Chart, and Top Ten on the Americana chart. The opening track on that CD, "I Know a Bird," which was penned and sung by Brace, was the #1 Folk song on its release and a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. The pair's second album, Master Sessions, is a tour de force that made its way onto numerous critics' lists of the best albums of 2010. It features the instrumental work of pedal steel guitar legend Lloyd Green and Dobro master Mike Auldridge. April, 2013 marked the release of Eric Brace & Peter Cooper's third duo record, The Comeback Album, a sparkling set of songs that feature their splendid harmonies and deft storytelling.

Brace lives and works in East Nashville, where he runs indie record label Red Beet Records. He's a devoted champion of the rich and productive East Nashville music scene, having produced three compilations of East Nashville music featuring some of Nashville’s finest songwriters.  Brace is co-producer of the Grammy-nominated I Love: Tom T. Hall's Songs of Fox Hollow, on which he appears with his band Last Train Home, along with artists such as Buddy Miller, Bobby Bare, Patty Griffin, and Duane Eddy. In 2013 he completed Hangtown Dancehall, a musical about the California Gold Rush, co-written with Karl Straub, featuring Kelly Willis, Tim O'Brien, Darrell Scott, Jason Ringenberg, and more.

Brace most recently produced Jerry Lawson’s solo debut, Just a Mortal Man, a stunning collection of 13 songs, featuring one of the greatest voices in American music. Lawson, the founding lead singer of a cappella legends The Persuasions, recorded 40 albums with his former vocal group, but had never made a record under his own name, or with a band. Now he has. Brace and Lawson got to know each other after Brace wrote a glowing preview of a Persuasions concert for the Washington Post, and got a thank you note from Lawson in return. They continued a correspondence that led – after ten years – to the recording of Just a Mortal Man, to be released April 28, 2015.

Cartes Postales

Cartes Postales

CARTES POSTALES

1 Petite Fleur (3:58)
2 Nuages (3:53)
3 Si Tu Savais  (3:13)
4 Couplet de la Rue de Bagnolet (3:00)
5 Jardin d'Hiver (4:07 )
6 Que Reste-t-il de Nos Amours (3:36)
7 L'Ame des Poètes (2:55)
8 Savoir Aimer (3:10)
9 Si Tu Vois Ma Mère (2:44)
10 Venez Donc Chez Moi (3:40)
11 Nuages (English version) (3:53)

My father stepped off the Liberty ship in Norfolk, VA, in early October 1947. It was his first time in the United States.
Paul Brace had sailed from Le Havre, France, after saying goodbye to his French mother, Jeanne Bredeville Brace, and was met at the Norfolk docks by his American father -- my grandfather -- Alfred Brace. Alfred bought his son a new suit and some eyeglasses, then they took the train together to Michigan. There, my father met his American aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins, and got himself enrolled in the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, his poor English notwithstanding.
He was 24, and had brought with him a harmonica and not much else.

He and his mother had survived the war living mostly in "Vichy" France, having bicycled south from their home near Paris in June 1940, ahead of the advancing German army. In Lyon in 1942, he joined the local Compagnons de la France (a French youth group tolerated by the Nazis) and helped them form a singing group that later became famous for decades, Les Compagnons de la Chanson. I still have Pop's pocket notebooks of old song lists and lyrics from those times, absolute treasures.
 
In his unpublished memoirs of his French childhood, Pop explains the start of his musical education:
 
One day Dad brought home a Philco radio with a phonograph built into the top. [This would have been Paris in the late 1920s]. We acquired a few records, but my parents, who enjoyed music, did not feel compelled to make it a big part of their lives. We had a big black upright piano, which probably came from my grandmother, and on which my mother had taken lessons. I, too, was given lessons, but got very frustrated, and Mother did not insist. As I grew older, however, I discovered the musical world beyond the operettas and other pre-World War I favorites of my mother, particularly the jazz of the Hot Club de France, Alix Combelle, and Michel Legrand, the chansons of Jean Sablon, Mireille, and Charles Trenet, and the chansonniers like Bourvil and Noel-Noel. I took up the harmonica and marveled at the virtuosity of Larry Adler.
 
I regret that I never got around to recording with my father on harmonica, but he was always enthusiastic in his support of my musical efforts, and those of my brother Alan and sister Anne. I wish he were still here to hear these recordings, but I'm happy to be able to share them with my mother and brother and sister. Pop would recognize many of these songs -- not all of them, but most. And he would marvel at Rory Hoffman's harmonica playing. And Rory's guitar playing. And Rory's clarinet playing. And Rory's accordion playing and Rory's... well, you get the picture.
 
I'll always be grateful for the music of France my father shared with us. The soundtrack of my early years was a musical river flowing with Roy Rogers, Peter, Paul & Mary, songs from "Mary Poppins" and "Peter Pan," the Tijuana Brass, Andrés Segovia... but there was always a steady stream of Yves Montand, Charles Trenet, Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli. And later, when I was ten and the family moved to France for a few years, the world of French chansons became that much more present in our lives, competing with the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel for turntable dominion.
 
This record is my small way of thanking my father for coming to this country, for finding my mother at the University of Michigan, for having a family, and for giving us all the gift of France, Douce France...
 
-- Eric Brace, 2017
Eric Brace

A Grammy-nominated producer, the front man of the acclaimed roots-rock band Last Train Home, half of a duo with songsmith Peter Cooper, and founder of East Nashville indie label Red Beet Records, Eric Brace is a prolific and admired artist.

A former music journalist for the Washington Post, Brace relocated to Nashville in 2003 for a full-time musical life. With Last Train Home, he has released eight records and one live concert DVD. After moving to Nashville, Brace began touring and recording with duo partner Peter Cooper, and the pair has three much-lauded albums to their credit. You Don’t Have To Like Them Both (2008) was a #1 album on the Freeform American Roots Chart, Top Five on the Folk Chart, and Top Ten on the Americana chart. The opening track on that CD, "I Know a Bird," which was penned and sung by Brace, was the #1 Folk song on its release and a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. The pair's second album, Master Sessions, is a tour de force that made its way onto numerous critics' lists of the best albums of 2010. It features the instrumental work of pedal steel guitar legend Lloyd Green and Dobro master Mike Auldridge. April, 2013 marked the release of Eric Brace & Peter Cooper's third duo record, The Comeback Album, a sparkling set of songs that feature their splendid harmonies and deft storytelling.

Brace lives and works in East Nashville, where he runs indie record label Red Beet Records. He's a devoted champion of the rich and productive East Nashville music scene, having produced three compilations of East Nashville music featuring some of Nashville’s finest songwriters.  Brace is co-producer of the Grammy-nominated I Love: Tom T. Hall's Songs of Fox Hollow, on which he appears with his band Last Train Home, along with artists such as Buddy Miller, Bobby Bare, Patty Griffin, and Duane Eddy. In 2013 he completed Hangtown Dancehall, a musical about the California Gold Rush, co-written with Karl Straub, featuring Kelly Willis, Tim O'Brien, Darrell Scott, Jason Ringenberg, and more.

Brace most recently produced Jerry Lawson’s solo debut, Just a Mortal Man, a stunning collection of 13 songs, featuring one of the greatest voices in American music. Lawson, the founding lead singer of a cappella legends The Persuasions, recorded 40 albums with his former vocal group, but had never made a record under his own name, or with a band. Now he has. Brace and Lawson got to know each other after Brace wrote a glowing preview of a Persuasions concert for the Washington Post, and got a thank you note from Lawson in return. They continued a correspondence that led – after ten years – to the recording of Just a Mortal Man, to be released April 28, 2015.

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