Eric Brace & Peter Cooper w/ Thomm JutzOct 1, 2016 | 0 comments
ERIC BRACE & PETER COOPER w/ THOMM JUTZ
Grammy nominees Eric Brace & Peter Cooper have created a body of work that reflects their journalistic sensibilities, their love of harmony, and their subtly wry humor, not to mention their deep respect for the masters they’ve learned from and played with.
The duo’s fourth album, C&O Canal, was released in early 2016. Named for the historic waterway that runs from Washington D.C. up into the Appalachian Mountains, the album is Brace & Cooper’s tribute to Washington’s folk, bluegrass, blues, and country scenes from the ‘60s through the ‘80s. Both spent their high school years in Washington (and in Brace’s case, many of his adult years as well), and both absorbed the musical lessons of such Washington stars as the Seldom Scene, Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter. This album of covers pays homage to those and others, and was produced, recorded, mixed, and arranged by the multi-talented Thomm Jutz, whose acoustic guitar playing and vocal harmonies are found all over C&O Canal.
Thomm also recorded, produced, mixed, and played on the third Brace & Cooper duo record, The Comeback Album (2013), a sparkling collection that features the pair’s splendid harmonies and deft storytelling. In addition to The Comeback Album, in 2013 Brace and Cooper each released solo projects: Peter’s Opening Day (his third solo album) was heralded as “reflecting his witty, literate world views,” while Eric‘s “folk opera” set in the California Gold Rush, Hangtown Dancehall, premiered to a packed house at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville, TN, 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 have recorded two other duo releases. In 2010 their Master Sessions album appeared, featuring the masters in the album title: pedal steel guitar legend Lloyd Green and dobro innovator Mike Auldridge. and the album made numerous critics’ Best-of 2010 lists. Their first record together, 2008’s You Don’t Have To Like Them Both, was a Top Ten album on the Roots, Americana, and Folk charts.
Thomm Jutz has created much spectacular music under his own name: 2016’s solo album Volunteer Trail, a duo album with Craig Market, Nowhere to Hide, as well as three albums of original songs about the Civil War, The 1861 Project (volumes 1, 2, and 3). His songwriting, singing, playing, producing, and mixing skills are prodigiously on view on each of these releases. As a songwriter, he has had several songs on the Bluegrass Music Radio Chart, including Irene Kelly’s #1 in 2016, “Carolina Wind.”
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, and runs the East Nashville-based label Red Beet Records. Cooper has four solo releases on Red Beet: Depot Light: Songs of Eric Taylor (2015), Opening Day (2013), The Lloyd Green Album (2010), and Mission Door (2007). He works as a scholar and writer at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Prior to that, he was senior music writer for The Tennessean newspaper, and is also currently a professor of country music history at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. He is working on a book of his musical experiences in Nashville.
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 Willie Nelson, Tom T. Hall, Emmylou Harris, Jim Lauderdale, Suzy Bogguss, Dan Navarro, Marshall Chapman, Kim Carnes, and others. They’ve 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.