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You Don't Have To Like Them Both

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.

You Don't Have To Like Them Both

You Don't Have To Like Them Both

This highly acclaimed CD was a Top 10 release on both the Americana and Folk charts upon its release, and was #1 on the Freeform Americana Roots chart. Mix Magazine called it "a really beautiful, enjoyable album," and No Depression magazine said it was "a true-hearted pleasure." Audiophile Audition said it was "a treat for the ears and the soul." And none other than the great Rodney Crowell said Brace and Cooper had put out "a smoking good batch of songs."

1. I Know a Bird

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Lyrics

(by Eric Brace) ---- Sometimes we head off into the unknown, looking for adventure, gold, solitude… Sometimes we get sent out there by someone else. That’s usually about the gold. Here's a song for searchers and mourners and soldiers. Oh, and banjo enthusiasts (thanks, Mr. O'Brien).

2. Omar's Blues

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Lyrics

(by David Olney) ---- Olney wrote part of this song on a Spartanburg, SC porch, the same porch on which he pontificated about Shakespeare. “I’ve been reading Shakespeare all summer,” he said. “And… uh, I suck.” That’s the one time we can think of when David Olney was wrong. This song was inspired by twilight and memories and the poetry of Phil Rizzuto.

3. Down to the Well

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Lyrics

(by Kevin Gordon & Colin Linden ---- A red door on a green Cadillac. That’s the stuff right there, from our East Nashville neighbor Kevin Gordon. Such language calls for heavyweight backup, so we brought in Richard Bennett and Tim Carroll.

4. Drinking From a Swimming Pool

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Lyrics

by Karl Straub ---- When songwriter Karl Straub thought about the notion that in the Land of the Blind the one-eyed man is king, he figured that was about the wrongest thing he’d ever heard. Karl figured that guy was doomed. Fans of Eric’s band Last Train Home know Karl’s songs. Everybody should.

5. The Man Who Loves to Hate

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Lyrics

(by Peter Cooper) ---- There is joy in derision? You’ve gotta be kidding. Peter was raised non-Catholic, so the recording studio will have to double as confessional.

6. The First in Line

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Lyrics

(by Paul Kennerley) ---- The Everly Brothers recorded this, and then Emmylou sang it with John Starling. We figured it deserved a professional approach. Paul Kennerley is a favorite, as are Starling, Emmy and the Everly boys. We brought in another favorite, East Nashville’s Jon Byrd, to sing the third harmony part on this sad and lovely tune.

7. Denali, Not McKinley

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Lyrics

(by Peter Cooper & Todd Snider) ---- Fly to Anchorage, and then drive up through Wasilla to Talkeetna, and crest a hill and look off into a distance that seems to get less distant the higher you glance up, and it’s awfully hard to make the argument that the high, high mountain should be named after a long-gone Ohio politician who never even visited the place.

8. I Know Better Now

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Lyrics

(by Jim Lauderdale) ---- We’ll meet you at some big hotel where weary hearts can rest. Thanks to Jim Lauderdale for making the poetic reservations.

9. Lucky Bones

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Lyrics

(by Jim Lauderdale & Eric Brace & Peter Cooper) ---- The title came from a roadside sign, and we looked up the “206 bones” thing. Eric and Jim wrote the bulk of this late one night, somewhere in New Jersey. Peter’s two cents came later, sprightly and hangover free. Lucky bones, all of them.

10. Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Sti...

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Lyrics

Eric left a junk shop holding a leather-bound songbook full of 19th century sea shanties. Turns out there was some guy out there on the ocean, navigating through storms and tides and feeling just like us. Good thing we had folks like Lloyd Green, Jen Gunderman, and Tim O’Brien to call for help.

11. Just the Other Side of Nowhere

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Lyrics

(by Kris Kristofferson) ---- Kris Kristofferson’s parents were disappointed when he decided to ditch his career as an educator and military man in favor of becoming a songwriting bum. They figured that with his intelligence and fortitude he should have at least been secretary of state or something. Turns out he was--and is--a whole lot better than that.

12. Yesterdays and Used to Be...

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Lyrics

(by Todd Snider) ---- This one, from East Nashville’s Todd Snider, goes in the program under “Benediction.”

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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