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Tributaries

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.

Tributaries

Tributaries

This modest offering is a collection of songs that we've contributed over the past few years to various tribute and compilation CDs. These are songs that have gotten under our skins one way or another, and we're happy to have this chance to share them with you.

"Train Leaves Here This Morning," "So Long Baby Goodbye," "I Wish It Would Rain," and "Good Clean Fun" were produced, engineered, and mixed by Doug Derryberry at Bias (Springfield, VA), Chiller Sound (New York, NY), EOP (Bethesda, MD).
"Shenandoah" was produced, engineered, and mixed by Mike Harvey at Actiondale (Annandale, VA).
"Been Awhile" was produced and engineered by Peter Fox at Groovetown USA (Washington, DC), and mixed by Doug Derryberry at Chiller Sound (NYC).

CD Design by Bill Thompson
Photography by Matthew Worden

c&p 2002, Eric Brace

1. Train Leaving Here This Mornin...

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Lyrics

While the Eagles' 1972 version of this song is the best known (and one that assuaged a young Scott McKnight, who played their version over and over after a harsh 10th grade break-up), the folks that wrote it---former Byrd Gene Clark and future Eagle Bernie Leadon---first recorded it on 1968's "The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark," along with Doug Dillard. That record was a swell example of what these guys' pal Gram Parsons was calling "Cosmic American Music," and has been unjustly forgotten in most circles. (Another version of this song that shouldn't be forgotten is the Seldom Scene's, the Washington-area bluegrass/newgrass band that recorded it for its "Act II" release.) When we were asked in 2000 to contribute to the 2-CD set "Full Circle: A Tribute to Gene Clark" (Not Lame Records), we decided to add a bit of Bakersfield to the song by recording it as a speedy country shuffle. We like to think Gene would have approved. I lost ten points just for being in the right place at exactly the wrong time
I looked right at the facts there, but I may as well have been completely blind
So, if you see me walking all alone
Don't look back, I'm just on my way back home
There's a train leaves here this morning, and I don't know, what I might be on

She signed me to a contract, baby said it would all be so life long
I looked around then for a reason
when there wasn't something more to blame it on
But, if time makes a difference while we're gone
Tell me now, and I won't be hanging on

There's a train leaves here this morning
and I don't know, what I might be on

1320 North Columbus was the address I had written on my sleeve
I don't know just what she wanted
might have been that it was getting time to leave
and I watched as the smoker passed it on
and I laughed when the joker said, "Lead on."

cause there's a train leaves here this morning
and I don't know, what I might be on
And there's train leaves here this morning
and I don't know, what I might be on

2. So Long Baby Goodbye

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Lyrics

The Blasters' original version appeared on their 1981 record "Blasters" as a total rave-up. Done their way, it's a perfect kiss-off song, but we chose to slow it down to a Roy Orbison-like pace so we could dig into some of the other emotions buried in the tune. Our version came out in 1998 on "Blastered: A Musical Tribute to the Blasters" (Run Wild Records). Dave Alvin liked our interpretation so much that when he was producing Katy Moffatt's 1999 Hightone Records release "Loose Diamond," they recorded a version of "So Long Baby Goodbye" using the LTH arrangement. Dave also said that hearing our version got him teared up, and made him call the gal he wrote it about. I know I've been fooling myself too long
I'm never right but always wrong
Goodbye baby, so long

You know you never let this thing catch on
You never let me be that strong
Goodbye baby, so long

There was a cold wind blowing on the night we met
Leaves feel from the trees
We both asked for something we could never get
I ain't gonna ask you please

Well you know, none of us are going to cry
It wasn't even worth a try
So long baby, goodbye

There was a cold wind blowing on the night we met
Windows were rolled up tight
We made a lot of promises I ain't seen yet
Now I'll do the thing that's right

Well you know, none of us are going to cry
It wasn't even worth a try
So long baby, goodbye

(Bye bye, goodbye baby)

3. Been Awhile

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Lyrics

When Peter Fox asked us to be part of his "Americana Motel" collection of Washington area roots rockers paying tribute to each other, we chose to go back a few years. In the mid-'70s Joe Triplett wrote this love song to a woman named Anna when he was in D.C.'s finest country-rock band, the Rosslyn Mountain Boys, and it was released on their 1977 LP "The Rosslyn Mountain Boys." We were lucky enough to get original RMB pedal steel player Tommy Hannum to come in and play the defining steel part. We're proud to be on "Americana Motel," a record named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the 10 best releases of 2001.

4. I Wish It Would Rain

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Lyrics

In the early '90s, Eric would sing this song now and then with Alice Despard (known lately as longtime owner of Arlington's indie rock bar Galaxy Hut, but also a fine songwriter and possessor of one of the most beautiful voices you'll ever hear). So when Pete and Maura Kennedy asked LTH to record a version for a tribute to their former bandleader Nanci Griffith, we asked Alice to get in on the fun. While the tribute CD hasn't been released yet, you can hear Griffith's original version of this song on her 1988 record "Little Love Affairs." (That Nanci Griffith tribute hasn't ever seen daylight, by the way, as of Nov. 2005. Hopefully someday...) Oh I wish it would rain
And wash my face clean
I wanna find some dark cloud
To hide in here
Oh love and a memory sparkle like diamonds
When the diamonds fall they burn like tears
When the diamonds fall they burn like tears

Once I had a love from the Georgia pines who only cared for me
I want to find that love of 22 here at 33
I've got a heart on my right and one on my left
And neither suits my needs
No the one I love is way out west and he never will need me

(chorus)

I'm gonna pack up my two-step shoes and head for the Gulf Coast plains
I want to walk the streets of my own home town where everybody knows my name
I want to ride the waves down in Galveston where the hurricanes blow in
Cause that Gulf Coast water tastes as sweet as wine
when your heart's rolling home in the wind

5. Good Clean Fun

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Lyrics

This one's a fine, frantic slice of pop that Nesmith composed when he was asserting himself against the Screen Gems machinery in Hollywood and trying to turn the Monkees into a real band. It came out on 1969's "The Monkees Present - Mickey, David, Michael," one of their most interesting but least successful records. The LTH interpretation was released in 2001 on "Papa Nez: A Loose Salute to the Work of Michael Nesmith" (Dren Records).

6. Shenandoah

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Lyrics

There are endless verses and versions of this song, which reportedly began as an 18th-century French sea chanty and evolved into this tale of a trapper in the old West who's worried about getting on the wrong side of an Indian chief on account of falling for his daughter. Some versions (like sublime jazzy pop singer Jo Stafford's) leave out the love story all together, while others (like Arlo Guthrie's) add a level of treachery to the tale, and still others (like guitarist Bill Frisell's) simply revel in the melodic beauty of the song, leaving the words out altogether. Our version first appeared on the 2002 Dren Records release "Alt-Traditional," a compilation of public domain songs. Missouri, she's a mighty river
Away you rolling river
The indians camp along her borders
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri

A white man loved and indian maiden
Away you rolling river
And with notions his canoe was laden
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri

O Shenandoah, I love your daughter
Away you rolling river
And for her I've crossed the rolling waters
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri

For seven long years, I courted Sally
Away you rolling river
And in the seven years since, I've longed to hold her
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri

Farewell my dear I must be leaving
Away you rolling river
And Shenandoah, I'll not deceive you
Away, I'm bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri

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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