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Six Songs

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.

Six Songs

Six Songs

One fine summer day, Eric took his band Last Train Home into the studio to record some of the songs they'd been playing live a whole lot but had never managed to capture for eternity.  They went in with their horn section, steel guitar, and Karl Straub on electric guitar.  Here, at last, are those songs you've been asking about, performed by:
 
Eric Brace:  Acoustic guitar, vocals
Kevin Cordt:  Trumpet
Jim Gray:  Bass
Martin Lynds:  Drums
Karl Straub:  Electric guitar
Dave Van Allen:  Pedal steel guitar
Chris Watling:  Saxophone
Scott McKnight:  Electric Guitar

1. Always Raining On My Street

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Lyrics

This is a Scott McKnight composition that we've been doing live whenever Scott joins us on stage. He's usually singing it, but I wanted to give it a shot myself. I used to perform this song with Kevin Johnson & the Linemen, who recorded a fine version of it. That's Karl Straub on electric, by the way, not Scott this time.

2. Soul Parking

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Lyrics

Another fine Karl Straub composition that he used to play with his band The Graverobbers (which Jim and Martin were once in). Karl describes it as his attempt to write a Velvet Underground song. I like the Neil Diamond-like horns we added. There used to be a store called "Soul Liquors" on 14th Street in DC. There was a sign hanging on the side of the building, directing people to an adjacent parking lot, "Soul Parking."

3. My Baby Just Cares For Me

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Lyrics

From the 1928 musical "Whoopee," featuring Eddie Cantor, this standard by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn has way more lyrics and chord changes than the Nina Simone version. When we were asked to play it at a wedding once, we chose to go back and learn the original version.

4. Et Maintenant / What Now My Lo...

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Lyrics

Gilbert Becaud and Pierre Delanoe wrote the original version (in French) and give it Ravel's "Bolero" beat, but that was a little heavy. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass gave it a fast and carefree ride, though they didn't sing Carl Sigman's admirably translated lyrics. We give you a little bit of everything in this version, including some "Stompin' at the Savoy," courtesy of Chris's sax at the end. This is the one tune we managed to get Scott McKnight to join us for; he's playing electric guitar of course.

5. Big Fish

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Lyrics

I heard this in a portside bar in Concarneau, France, years ago, done by Les Alpinistes Hollandaises, a busking ramshackle band made up of an Englishman, a Basque woman, and a Breton snare drummer. Yannick Farquhar was the frontman, and he taught it to me. I promised him I'd record it someday. Listen to Jim Gray's only known bass solo. And if you know where Yannick is, tell him I've kept my promise.

6. Autumn Leaves

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Lyrics
Here's another standard that's been twisted sideways by Karl's guitar work. This is essentially a Graverobbers arrangement that I wanted to record, just so I could sing in French again. Yves Montand introduced this incredible Joseph Kosma/Jacques Prevert tune to the world in the 1945 film "Les Portes de la Nuit." Later, Johnny Mercer added the English lyrics, which are as brilliant as Prevert's. I like that he didn't try a literal translation, but chose to capture the tone. As with many standards of that era, there is an entire top half to the song that rarely gets performed these days. Someday we'll do that too....
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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