DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Eric Brace and Peter Cooper at SxSE May 14

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on May 3, 2011

Americana artists Eric Brace and Peter Cooper (courtesy photo)

South By Southeast has put together another tasty Music Feast and I’ve been craving it since the show was still in the discussion stages. For my money, no one has a better story to tell than the singer/ songwriter, and this time around there are two of them – Eric Brace and Peter Cooper.

This pair has been touring, recording and performing together since 2004, which is also the year Brace moved to Nashville. They have quietly created a loyal following of Americana buffs who share their love for songwriting and harmony.

They’re touring in support of two new recordings, Master Sessions and Cooper’s solo effort, The Lloyd Green Album.

I talked to them last week as they were heading from Portland Me. to Northampton, Mass. to open for John Prine. In addition to penning tunes, these guys are respected journalists. Eric Brace is a former columnist for the Washington Post. He covered the city’s night life and music scene. Peter Cooper is a music writer for the Tennessean, the daily newspaper in Nashville, Tenn.

“Many may decry this fact,” Cooper laughed during our conversation, “but we have day jobs. Most musicians have day jobs and mine puts me right there in the music every day … interviewing people like Kris Kristopherson and others … it keeps me thinking.”

Google his name and you’ll find blog posts, interviews and newspaper stories about some of Nashville’s biggest stars. You’ll also find some great quotes about the latest CD out from this dynamic duo, Master Sessions released last year on Brace’s Red Beet Records label.

“The harmonies are unforgettable, classic and touching. One of the irresistible surprises of the year,” said Jim Morrison with No Depression (Visit www.nodepression.com/profiles/blogs/eric-brace-and-peter-cooper for a great interview and video clip.)

“This album’s title is no misnomer,” says American Twang, which puts the CD at No. 8 on its list of Top Ten Not Quite Country Albums.

“Eric Brace and Peter Cooper sound as if there were born to play together,” comes from ToxicPete.co.uk. Oh wait, looks like that one’s about an earlier disc, You Don’t Have To Like Them Both ( Red Beet Records 2009).

Getting back to Master Sessions, the disc features two of the duo’s longtime musical heroes – Lloyd Green on pedal steel and Mike Auldridge on dobro. These two names may not be on the lips of America, but bluegrass, country and Americana fans know them well.  Green is one of the most respected pedal steel guitarists around. He’s played with the Byrds, Paul McCartney, George Jones, Charlie Pride and Alan Jackson.

Auldridge was a founding member of legendary bluegrass group, the Seldom Scene and more recently with Darren Beachley and the Legends of the Potomac bluegrass band.

“Eric and I used to go see Mike with the Seldom Scene,” Peter says. “He is the most inventive player!”

The album’s first track is “Wait a Minute,” a tune well-known to fans of the Seldom Scene. According to Cooper, it wasn’t a chart hit, but it was big. “We needed a third vocal,” Peter continued, “and we knew Kenny Chesney was a big Seldom Scene fan, so Eric texted him and he said he was honored to perform on a CD with Mike Auldridge.”

Longtime South By Southeast fans may recall Brace’s last visit to the Train Depot.

“I came with my band, Last Train Home, in 2007, and it was one of the best shows we ever did,” said Eric. “I mean that, it was one of our best shows ever … and Jeff Roberts … well, you can imagine some of the people you meet  … Jeff was one of the all-time greats.”

I can hear him smile as he thinks about the former director of South By Southeast, who passed away suddenly in January 2009. It still hurts, doesn’t it? I think that Last Train Home show was one of the ones that Jeff nagged me to see, but I missed it. And, once again, I should have Trusted the Frog, because I’ve heard some of their music and I would have loved seeing this rockin’ roots band.

However, I won’t make that mistake again. I’ll be at the Train Depot for this show!

Peter Cooper and Eric Brace at the Bluebird in Nashville, Tenn. (courtesy photo)

Tickets are $25  or $20 for annual SxSE concert subscribers. (Send an email with your name, number of tickets requested and your membership status to southxsoutheast@aol.com.)

Along with an incredible night of music, your ticket includes a potluck dinner and dessert, wine and beer from New South Brewery, soft drinks and coffee. Feasting begins at six o’clock and the music starts at 7 p.m.

Players on the Master Sessions CD are: 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).

Players on The Lloyd Green Album are: Peter Cooper (acoustic guitar, vocals), Lloyd Green (pedal steel guitar), Richard Bennett (guitars), Jen Gunderman (keyboards, accordion), Pat McInerney (drums, percussion), Mark Horn (drums) and harmony vocals by Kim Carnes, Rodney Crowell, Pam Rose, Fayssoux Starling McLean, Julie Lee and Eric Brace.

Also coming soon from Red Beet Records is I Love:Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow, a tribute and nod to the 75th birthday of Nashville’s iconic country songwriter Tom T. Hall. The disc is produced by Cooper and Brace, and features the monster talents of Buddy Miller, Patty, Griffin, Duane Eddy, and  Bobby Bare. Also performing are Lloyd Green (pedal steel guitar); Jen Gunderman (keyboard, piano, accordion); Mike Bub (acoustic bass) and Mark Horn (drums).

The Train Depot is located at 851 Broadway, Myrtle Beach, S.C. For more information, log onto southbysoutheast.org. And don’t forget to check out these upcoming shows: Saturday, Aug. 6 – Josh Roberts & the Hinges; Saturday, Oct. 1 – Steve Young & Jubal Lee Young; Saturday, Dec. 3 – Yonrico Scott Band.

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  1. […] Cooper Genre: Americana Red Beet Records (2010) http://www.redbeetrecords.com I mentioned this album in my last post because I was about to go see these guys at their South By Southeast show at the Myrtle Beach Train […]


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