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 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 DC’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, 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’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, former senior music writer for The Tennessean and professor of country music at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music, 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. They are frequent guest DJ’s on the legendary WSM radio station in Nashville.
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