On Thursday, February 6, 2023, Last Train Home opened for the Waco Bros. at the Black Cat on 14th St. in Washington D.C. That was a notable show, marking the true beginning of Last Train Home as we now stand.
Band leader Eric Brace had begun down the road of live music in college playing with a bluegrass band, the Mystic Valley Mountaineers outside Boston. Meanwhile brother Alan Brace had been playing mandolin out in Colorado with the Pinetop Rhythm Band. Back in D.C. in the mid-'80s, the Brace boys formed B-Time, a guitar-pop band that released an EP, then faded right around 1990.
They then created the Beggars, along with pedal steel player Dave Van Allen, among many other amazing musicians (bassist Tom Kane, drummer John Moremen [guitarist in the Neighbors], guitarist/singer Alice Despard). The Beggars lasted about a year, exploring a more rootsy sound, before disbanding. Alan pursued a project called Mumbly Peg, while Eric joined Kevin Johnson's band the Linemen, along with guitarist Bill Williams.
Eric and Bill left the Linemen in 1994, and pondered putting a band together. Recruiting Alan (harmonica and vocals) and Scott McKnight [on bass, another ex-Neighbors guy] and drummer Evan Pollack and mandolinist James Key, Eric and company performed a few times in '94 and '95 as Peach and then as Last Train Home, taking their name from a song Eric (and musician pal Jim Greenfield) had written back in the '80s.
That incarnation called it quits, and Eric, Bill and Alan begged Martin Lynds to play drums and Jim Gray to play bass. Martin was known to them primarily because he'd been the doorman at IOTA, their regular Virginia watering hole, but also 'cause he played a mean trap kit with the rock band El Quatro. Jim Gray was on their radar as a former bassist with Kelly Willis's old unit, Kelly & the Fireballs, as well as rocking the low end for the great band the Graverobbers.
So there they were, January '97, needing like the dickens to rock the world. So they rehearsed and pulled it all together and managed to play a swell opening set for the Wacos. Afterwords, they all looked at each other and said: Hey we're a band! The debut, self-titled CD soon followed, arriving in December '97.
And a couple of years later, Scott McKnight was back in the fold, this time playing various electric guitars, along with Bill Williams. Doug Derryberry (when not producing LTH and touring with Bruce Hornsby) also joins in on guitars, pianos, mandolins etc whenever he can. Trumpeter Kevin Cordt joined up in late '99 after playing on the "True North" sessions ("True North" was released in October 1999), and Dave Van Allen plays with the band whenever he can make the trip down from Doylestown PA or whenever LTH gets up to Philly.
In November 2000, LTH released "Holiday Limited," 30 minutes of silly yet wonderful holiday music. In March 2001, the band will be in Brooklyn recording its next full CD. To keep them busy 'til then, they're recording songs that will find their way onto two separate tribute CDs: One for Mike Nesmith, one for Nanci Griffith. These will complement nicely the two tribute CDs LTH is already featured on (for the Blasters and for Gene Clark).
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