Album Review: Eric Brace & Last Train Home, ‘Everything Will Be’

People get ready, for Eric Brace & Last Train Home are picking up listeners from coast to coast; so just get on board for a ride through a musical landscape dotted by New Orleans second-line oompahs, gentle folk roundelays, and pop stylings. There’s even a cover of “When I’m Dead and Gone,” by the neglected Scottish band McGuinness Flint (famous for their single “Friends of Mine”), that the band turns into a raucous, joyous sing-along, replete with tootling trumpet and blowing sax leading a snaking line of “ooh-la-las” on the song’s outro. That song might be worth the price of the album itself, simply because it showcases Brace and the band’s ingenuity and their soulful ability to infuse a song with their enduring musical spirit.

The 11 songs on Everything Will Be offer musical meditations on the nature of time and all the little ways we stave off the ravages of time, or the ways we convince ourselves that all is right with the world, even as our personal or public worlds fall apart around us. The title track opens the album with a shimmering layer of John Hiatt-like guitar chords that float under Brace’s mellifluous vocals like a raft headed toward a safe harbor. While we might not be telling the truth when we say “everything will be okay,” if we try, nevertheless, to steer our little life boats to the elements of life we find beautiful and live in those moments, maybe everything will be okay, at least momentarily.

The circling guitar strums of “Just a Moment” spin a layered musical magic that celebrates the joy of living in the moments we have, recalling that our lives can change in “just a moment.” The jaunty toodle-loo “If I Had Nickel” struts along a New Orleans jazz vibe, underscored by Kevin McKendree’s barrelhouse piano, Kevin Cordt’s trumpet, and Chris Watling’s sax. The song plays off the sonic structure of Dr. John’s “Such a Night.” The band’s haunting version of John Hartford’s “The Six O’Clock Train and a Girl with Green Eyes” features Brace’s Harry Chapin-like vocals sung over an ethereal combination of pedal steel and horns; the dreaminess of this version of the song conveys the wistfulness of missed opportunities. The rollicking instrumental “East Nashville Highball” gives every member of the band the chance to stretch out, imitating some of Nashville’s best session players and stars.

“When I’m Dead and Gone” closes out the album; it’s Old Crow Medicine Show-meets-Bernie Leadon-meets-Five Man Electric Band, and it’s the perfect number to fuel the train on down the track to its next stop.

Everything Will Be showcases Eric Brace’s lyrical artistry and ingenuity and the band’s genius for creating layers of sound that evoke the melancholy or the unbridled joy of the songs.


Everything Will Be is available HERE.

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