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Master Sessions

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 that inspired them and whom they've played with.

They kick off 2016 with the release of their fourth duo record, C&O Canal. Why an album of covers from Washington D.C.'s folk and bluegrass scenes? Peter spent his high school years in the Washington DC area, and Eric spent his high school years and much of his grown-up life in the nation's capital. It was there that each of them spent way too many (yet not enough) nights at the Birchmere nightclub, among many other venues. Thursday nights at the Birchmere was when The Seldom Scene took the stage, and changed Eric and Peter's lives. C&O Canal is their thank you note to all the music they heard -- often through The Seldom Scene. With songs by the Scene's founding lead singer John Starling, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, The Rosslyn Mountain Boys and many more, C&O Canal is a timely reminder that Washington is much more than a political town.

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 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 is a writer and researcher at The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, as well as a lecturing professor of country music history at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music. He was for many years the senior music writer and columnist for The Tennessean newspaper, and 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. 

Brace and Cooper tour steadily across the U.S. and Europe, often with their producer and guitar-playing collaborator Thomm Jutz.

Master Sessions

Master Sessions

Musicians:
Mike Auldridge: Dobro
Richard Bennett: Guitars, octave mandolin
Eric Brace: Acoustic guitar, vocals
Peter Cooper: Acoustic guitar, vocals
Lloyd Green: Pedal steel guitar
Jen Gunderman: Keyboards, accordion
Pat McInerney: Drums, percussion
Dave Roe: Bass
With:
Jon Randall: Harmony vocals (2, 5, 11)
Julie Lee: Harmony vocals (4, 7, 8, 11)
Kenny Chesney: Harmony vocals (1)
 
Recorded by Adam Bednarik at House of David Studios (Nashville) and Mike Esser at 16 Ton Studios (Nashville)
Mixed by Richard McLaurin at House of David Studios
Mastered by Alex McCollough at Yes Master (Nashville)
Photography by Jim McGuire (Nashville)
CD design by Bill Thompson (Harrisonburg, VA)
Produced by Eric Brace and Peter Cooper

1. Wait a Minute

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Lyrics
(by Herb Pedersen) ---- When Eric and Peter were absorbing the lessons of the Seldom Scene on those long ago Thursday nights, this Herb Pedersen song was always on the set list. It's one of the best songs ever written about the consequences of the oft-romanticized life on the road. Of course, it made them both want a life on the road. Weren’t they listening? (And yep, that's Kenny Chesney on the low harmony. Turns out he's a huge Seldom Scene fan too.)
Wait a minute
Did I hear you say you're going far away again
Try to change it
I can't take the lonely nights without your love
 
Doing the road
Get the music done and move along
What good does it do
Play your songs for her and hear her say
 
Wait a minute....
 
Rolling along
Life's been good to you, and even so
She comes to you
Late at night's the time you hear her say
Once again
 
Wait a minute....
 
Waiting for you
Thirty days and nights without a rest
Gotta hold on
Twenty-five to go and once again
I hear you say, hey
 
Wait a minute
Did I hear you say you're going far away again
Try to change it
I can't take the lonely nights without your love
2. Suffer a Fool

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Lyrics

(by Peter Cooper & Don Schlitz) ---- People get better at stuff through practice. Ask Peter’s wife, Charlotte, who has gotten so much better at patience.

3. It Won't Be Me

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Lyrics

(by Eric Brace & Karl Straub) ---- Eric loves railroads and train stations so much he named his band Last Train Home. Long ago, Peggy Lee had a hopeful hit, "Waitin' for the Train to Come In," but here, the train that comes in is bringing bad news, and this guy has to grab the next one out.

Standing by the railroad track
Waitin' 'til the train comes back
Just to see it go
Just to feel the wind blow on my face
She's a mile away at most
Downhill so she can coast
And everybody knows
That's the way it always goes
 
They'll be wiping eyes and telling jokes
Blowing kisses and blowing smoke
Outside in golden rings
If I'm a judge of anything
You will find a happy man riding on that train
But it won't be me
 
Won't be me waving from the window
Me stepping to your arms
Me handing over to you
All the pretty things
All the things I brought you
From everywhere I've roamed
 
I can feel it coming
Before I can see it coming
Then it's screaming by
Inches from my face
She's flying straight to you
Guess I'll do some flying too
And climb up in that boxcar
Don't need a ticket on a
 
Freight train heading far from here
The price is right and the distance might
Just take away the sting
If I'm a judge of anything
You will find a happy man
Riding on that train
But it won't be me
 
Won't be me waving from the window
Me stepping to your arms
Me handing over to you
All the pretty things
You will find a happy man
Riding on that train
But it won't be me
4. Missoula Tonight

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Lyrics

(by Eric Brace & Peter Cooper) ---- When Eric saw a Montana forest fire up close, it stuck in his head. Fire. Wind. Water. Powerful stuff, especially for those in the way.

Fire on the mountain, smoke in my eyes
Look up and see the red flames in the black night
We prayed for a hard rain
What else can we do?
The fire breaks are cut and the fighters home
 
Come closer darling there's ash in your hair
A tear in your eye
This time tomorrow we could be anywhere
Missoula tonight if we tried
 
We watched them fly over
In modified planes
Dumping the water again and again
Time now for leaving
What will you take

We won't need very much, we shouldn't wait



Come closer darling there's ash in your hair
Tears in your eyes
This time tomorrow we could be anywhere
Missoula tonight if we tried
 
Your brother's a brave one
Flying like that
There's a man with no fear
I think that I saw him waving his hat
Pointing to get out of here
 
Come closer darling there's ash in your hair
Come closer don't cry
This time tomorrow we could be anywhere
Missoula tonight if we tried

Missoula tonight if we tried

5. Big Steve

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Lyrics

(by Peter Cooper & Don Schlitz) ---- Music belongs to the ones who love it most. In Nashville, that's Big Steve, Music City’s favorite doorman. You can likely find him at Douglas Corner next time you're in town.

6. Circus

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Lyrics

(by Eric Brace & Peter Cooper) ---- It’s hard to be a clown, and harder not to be one. Good thing kids love ‘em. Lyrics aside, here’s a simple, finger-picked pattern that Lloyd and Mike weave into something far beyond what Eric and Peter could have imagined. Come to think of it, that applies to this whole record.

Here comes the circus back to town
I've got a kid he loves a clown
When I was his age I did too
Now I don't, what can you do
 
He doesn't worry 'bout the lions
Tigers and bears they are his friends
I'm stuck with fearful agitation
And disbelief I can't suspend
 
We won't be going to the circus
I can't imagine why we would
There's a brand new sucker born every minute
You can spin it most every way but
 
Would you bring back something
From the circus
Some kind of little souvenir
He'll think much better of the circus
Imagining the thing from here
 
Here comes the circus back to town
I've got a kid he loves a clown
When I was his age I did too
Grew up to be one, whoop-di-do
7. Behind Your Back

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Lyrics

(by Peter Cooper) ---- Talking behind your back doesn't have to be a bad thing. Characters in this song include Lonesome Bob Chaney, Allison Moorer, Chris Richards, David Olney, Denice Franke, and Vince Bell. Peter wrote “Behind Your Back” mostly about Eric Taylor, about whom many great things are said. Not enough, but many.

8. I Flew Over Our House Last Nig...

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Lyrics

(by Tom T. Hall) ---- As usual, Tom T. Hall shows how it's done. He wrote this song while flying over his old house, seated next to Connie Smith after a gig. He was looking out the window, humming a tune. She said, "What are you doing?" He said, "Writing a song." Could something so great, so moving, really be that simple? Eric recorded this in 2007 for the "Last Train Home: Live at IOTA" DVD and CD, but he couldn't pass up the chance to hear Lloyd and Mike and Peter and the rest of this team of all-stars sink their musical teeth into this great song.

9. Nice Old Man

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Lyrics

(by Peter Cooper) ---- Peter probably wrote this song about his grandfather, John W. Cooper.

10. Silent Night

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Lyrics

(by Jon Byrd) ---- This song shares a title with the holiday tune, but East Nashville's Jon Byrd reminds us that the sentiments of that old carol always apply, even when you're "gliding down the road on a hot summer day, so bright."

11. I Wish We Had Our Time Again

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Lyrics

(by John Hartford) ---- The saddest romp ever written. “Dear old friends have to turn their eyes.”

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 that inspired them and whom they've played with.

They kick off 2016 with the release of their fourth duo record, C&O Canal. Why an album of covers from Washington D.C.'s folk and bluegrass scenes? Peter spent his high school years in the Washington DC area, and Eric spent his high school years and much of his grown-up life in the nation's capital. It was there that each of them spent way too many (yet not enough) nights at the Birchmere nightclub, among many other venues. Thursday nights at the Birchmere was when The Seldom Scene took the stage, and changed Eric and Peter's lives. C&O Canal is their thank you note to all the music they heard -- often through The Seldom Scene. With songs by the Scene's founding lead singer John Starling, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, The Rosslyn Mountain Boys and many more, C&O Canal is a timely reminder that Washington is much more than a political town.

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 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 is a writer and researcher at The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, as well as a lecturing professor of country music history at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music. He was for many years the senior music writer and columnist for The Tennessean newspaper, and 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. 

Brace and Cooper tour steadily across the U.S. and Europe, often with their producer and guitar-playing collaborator Thomm Jutz.

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