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Holiday Limited

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.

Holiday Limited

Holiday Limited

"... it's hard to think of anyone who does blue with more sublime soulfulness than Brace and his cohorts in Washington's Last Train Home, and the holidays have obviously provided quite an inspiration ..." -Philadelphia Inquirer

Produced, engineered and mixed by Doug Derryberry
Recorded at Alpha Beat (Wash. DC), Groovetown (Wash. DC), EOP (Bethesda, MD), and Scott's House (Alexandria, VA)
Mastered by Charlie Pilzer, Airshow (Springfield, VA)
Design by Bill Thompson
Train crossing photos by Matthew Worden

This is for all our parents and families, for all the swell holidays, past and present.
Dedicated to the memory of Harry Donald Gray, Eileen Mary "Mickey" McKnight, Leland & Bettey Van Allen, and William Harren Richard Williams.

1. Home For Christmas

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Eric stole that line, "life is short and talk is cheap, don't make promises you can't keep," from Mose Allison. Other than that, just a melancholy country shuffle, whose vocal ending is a tribute to the original lineup of the great D.C. area bluegrass band The Seldom Scene. The winter wind is blowing
Where your hand should be
Running through my hair and
Holding on to me
I wish I hadn't called
It hurt to hear your voice
I got the time zones backwards
The line was full of noise

And you promised to be
Home for Christmas
Life is short and talk is cheap
So don't make promises you can't keep
You promised to be home for Christmas
I'm not going to hold my breathe
The breath you used to take away from me

I read between the lines
Each and every one you fit
On the back of postcards
I could see were quickly written
Move from place to place
In the name of change
You say you're growing up
But look whose life got rearranged

And you promised to be
Home for Christmas
Life is short and talk is cheap
So don't make promises you can't keep
You promised to be home for Christmas
I'm not going to hold my breathe
The breath you used to take away from me

2. Christmas (Baby Please Come Ho...

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3. We Three Kings

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4. White Christmas

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5. Oh, Come All Ye Faithful

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6. Christmas In St. Paul

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We'd been in Peter Fox's studio in Mt. Pleasant, D.C., tracking with Peter and Doug, just trying to crank out a quick little Christmas present for the LTH fans of the world. It was July, 2000, I believe. So we'd tracked the drums and bass in one day, five tracks in all ("Home for Christmas," "Christmas," "White Christmas," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"). I was thinking of a $10 CD, and thought that we needed one more song to justify that price. (This was before Scott offered his amazing and weird and beautiful banjo carol interludes, and before Kevin had done his cool horn fanfare as track #2). Martin had his drums all packed up, and the thought of loading all of it back into that basement at some point to record another tune didn't strike anyone's fancy. ML said, "Why don't you write another song, one that's just acoustic and doesn't need drums?" Hmmmm. Well, okay. So I went home that night, and I strummed a C chord, and the words, "We strung the lights on Christmas eve" came out of my mouth. I thought, "who strung lights???" It's like that sometimes when you write a song. There's something happening, and you don't know what it is. So I let the story tell itself. It came to me quickly: A party with some old friends, some new friends, some pizza, up in Minnesota. Where's Otis Lane? I looked online at a map of St. Paul to find a road that could possibly have a view over the Mississippi river. That one looked likely. Later on, Scott McKnight sent me a satellite photo of the area, and it seems like it *could* have a view of the river, but I've never confirmed it. Someone else told me that Otis Lane was in a pretty swank neighborhood and that it was unlikely to be the site of a group house. So in my head, it's become a really nice big house... the owners are away on Anguilla, and have let their 20-something daughter have a Christmas party there. Martin often has an "Orphan's Thanksgiving," and I reckon that was in the back of my head somewhere. We strung the lights on New Years Eve
Then sat around and drank
So-called orphans by choice and circumstance
At the old house on Otis Lane

The eggnog was weak but the punch was strong
It got stronger as the night wore on
We called out for pizza
Jenny cut a star from the cardboard box

Santa, come to St. Paul
We're waiting up for you
The lights on the tree, they shine in every color
But it's hard to not be blue

Jenny climbed a chair with the star in her hand
To put it on top of the tree
She fell over but she was okay
You could hear her laugh for blocks away

Started talking to a friend of Eileen's
She'd driven all the way from Madison
Turns out she really was an orphan
She was nervous when i held her hand

Santa, come to St. Paul
We're waiting up for you
the lights on the tree they shine in every color
And the ice on the river is blue

We stepped out side and I finally asked her name
I liked it when she said "Susannah"
I asked if she had plans for New Years Eve
She said "I've always hated New Years Eve"

The Mississippi river reflected the stars
It was dark, and hard to see her face
I think she smiled and I know she kissed me
And said "Let's call tonight our New Years Eve"

Santa, come to St. Paul
We're waiting up for you
The lights on the tree they shine in every color
And Susannah's eyes are blue

Santa come to St. Paul
We're waiting up for you
The lights on the tree they shine in every color
Susannah, don't be blue
Now, the year is new
Susannah, don't be blue

7. Good King Wenceslas

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8. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let...

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9. Have Yourself A Merry Little C...

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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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