Eric Brace & Last Train Home
Daytime Highs & Overnight Lows
Red Beet Records
Eric Brace & Last Train Home release their eleventh collaboration Daytime Highs & Overnight Lows on Red Beet Records. These are traveling songs, perhaps traveling through time as they evoke a feeling from another era while being new at the same time. The driving rhythm throughout the album is like a slow train. For a band who took a break in 2009, the music is lush and layered. Attributed to the quality of the band and the ease at which they fall in step with each other. This is a talented group of musicians, and Eric Brace can write a dang song. www.LastTrainHome.com
All fourteen songs on Daytime Highs & Overnight Lows are written by Eric Brace unless otherwise indicated. Guest writers include; Darren Lee Schlappich, Steve Wedemeyer, Luke Brindley, Daniel Brindley, Barry White, Thomm Jutz, Tammy Rodgers, Peter Cooper, Scott McKnight. Eric Brace plays acoustic guitar and lead vocals. Jared Bartlett plays electric, acoustic, and baritone guitar. Alan Brace provides harmonica and vocals. Kevin Cordt plays trumpet. Jim Gray plays bass and glockenspiel. Jen Gunderman plays piano, organ, and accordion. Martin Lynds provides drums. Scott McKnight plays electric and baritone guitar, organ, and vocals. Dave Van Allen plays pedal steel guitar. Chris Waitling provides tenor and baritone saxophone. Bill Williams plays electric slide guitar, banjo, mandolin, and vocals. Lindsay Hayes provides vocals, Thomas Jutz provides acoustic guitar, and Justin Moses provided banjo.
Last Train Home is a highly respected and critically acclaimed roots-rock band and the songs on this album are as eclectic as the band itself. The opening track, “Sleepy Eyes”, written by Darren Lee Schlappich, evokes a Glen Campbell tune. Dave Van Allen’s pedal steel is complementary to the lyrics on “Caney Fork”. The song “Distance and Time” with its rhythm of the train punctuated with accordion and an electric guitar that builds through the chorus, is marvelous. “Dear Lorraine” with its slow drum like a heartbeat leading way to pedal steel, then add that horn, then the harmonica, then the electric guitar, sigh, they all conspire to pull at your heart. It’s a sad and solemn breaking away song.
The songs on Daytime Highs & Overnight Lows are exactly that, a balance between highs and lows. The lighter and poppy “Happy Is” suggests hiding from the pain is one way to maintain your happy. “Floodplains” by Steve Wedemeyer is a pure country, heart aching song that suggests that no matter how much you try to stop the flood you really just have to move on and carry on. Barry White’s “What Am I Gonna Do With You” is pure americana-pop. “Old Railroads”, by Thomm Jutz and Tammy Rogers, is wonderfully harmonious and reflective. “I Like You” is a plucky song that professes everything I like about you. There’s the feel good ”B&O Man” with its chicka-boom rhythm, banjo, and pedal steel. “Sailor” has a New Orleans river-band vibe. “Taking trains” simply drives along, and “Wake Up, We’re In Love” with its groovy vocal and organ is pure fun.
As a songwriter myself, the poetic imagery in “Hudson River” is one of my favorites. The image of a crowded subway as a “bulge in the belly of a python” is vivid, and you know I looked up Peter Cooper Park just so I could mentally place myself into that space. Written by Luke Brindley and Daniel Brindley, the images are that real. The songs on Daytime Highs and Overnight Lows are all really well crafted by a band that knows how to compliment each other. You’ll want this album for your collection. If you get a chance, go see them live. I’ll see you out there.
- Viola Krouse