Eric Brace & Peter Cooper. The Comeback Album. Red Beet Records

Brace and Cooper have made three albums together and last year produced a well regarded tribute to Tom T Hall’s kiddie album Songs of Fox Hollow. Seasoned practitioners in the art of delivering well turned out songs that often have a touch of humour they’ve gathered together some Nashville luminaries for The Comeback Album including Fats Kaplin on fiddle and mandolin and Lloyd Green on pedal steel. The end result is a good humoured and exceptionally well played disc that won’t surprise anyone familiar with their work and will delight fans.
They open with a roll call of heroes (and anti heroes in the case of Tricky Dicky?) from the past on Ancient History covering music, sport, politics and such and do so with a swell panache as the song buzzes along buoyed by some fine Wurlitzer organ and the first of many fine guitar solos from Richard Bennett. Ponzi Scheme is a modern riches to rags song adorned with mandolin, fiddle and acute pedal steel from Green which is bound to be a crowd pleaser live while they shuffle up a fine potage in Thompson Street which features Rory Hoffman on clarinet and accordion as they paint a vivid picture of small town politics in the South . Hoffman returns on the jaunty Sailor where his clarinet, gypsy guitar and mandolin spin a fine tale.
Whether they’re relating Brace’s spell in a county jail on Johnson City or bowling down the highway on Nobody Knows the lyrics are witty and repay repeated listening. They throw in three covers for good measure. Karl Straub’s Carolina harks back to sun kissed Californian past times with Green’s pedal steel billowing away on a song that recalls John Stewart . David Halley’s Rain Just Falls closes the album and it’s a fine valediction allowing Brace and Cooper to showcase their harmony vocals on a song that slinks into the sunset with Green’s pedal steel again to the fore. The other cover is the highlight of the album as the pair reconnect with Tom T Hall for a glorious version of his song Mad. They’re joined here by three “special guests,” Duane Eddy who provides some low strung twang, Marty Stuart on vocals and mandolin and Mac Wiseman, 87 year old Bluegrass Hall of Fame member on vocals and it sounds as if they all had a ball doing this as will the listener.

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