On February 1, local label Red Beet Records released “Riverland,” the second LP from the musical trio of Eric Brace, Peter Cooper & Thomm Jutz. This conceptual collection of songs about the Magnolia state of Mississippi was self-produced by the trio and recorded here at Thomm Jutz’s Mt. Juliet studio. It’s a delightful mood-setting storytelling session with shared vocals and some smooth and gentle pickin’ from these tasty players. 11 Questions is stoked to have now harvested answers from all three of these talented Nashville musicians.
Eric Brace’s multi-faceted musical career started with a stint as a music writer for the Washington Post and was followed by his long tenure leading roots-rock band Last Train Home. Since then, he and Peter Cooper have worked as a musical duo for over a decade resulting in four records together. The pair also received a Grammy nomination for producing a guest star reprise of a Tom T. Hall record for children.
And if that ain’t enough, Eric’s catalog also includes a solo record with some of his friends sung in French and “Hangtown Dancehall,” a musical about the California Gold Rush with another friend, Karl Straub. One more thing is that Brace also runs the East Nashville-based independent Red Beet label where all of this great music can be found.
We thank Eric for dishing this out for us. This March, the Brace, Cooper & Jutz trio are touring throughout England and return home for some more shows later in the year.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I was born in California, moved to Washington D.C. as a boy, and spent most of my years there until moving to Nashville in 2004. I decided to relocate to Nashville then because my band Last Train Home had just been picked up by a well-regarded booking agency, and we had made the decision to all quit our jobs and go for it full time. Nashville was geographically a more convenient place for a touring band, and the infrastructure here of management, labels, publicists, studios, and of course the plethora of inspiring musicians and songwriters, made Nashville the obvious place to be.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
The first albums I bought with my own money, as a 10-year-old, were Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Who’s Next. My most recent full album purchase was Ry Cooder’s latest, The Prodigal Son, CD version.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
First was Peter, Paul and Mary at age five in Sacramento, I believe. Most recent was Nashville’s The Ornaments at 3rd & Lindsley in December 2018.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Tom T. Hall, Bobby Bare, Mac Wiseman, Lloyd Green, Nanci Griffith, Phil Kaufman
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
Ugly Mugs on the east side which is walkable from my house. Five Points Pizza.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
Oh man. Gonna go with Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Years ago, there were other answers, but now it’s my house.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
I’d say Peter Cooper and Thomm Jutz, and I would mean it. But for the sake of spreading it around, I’ll go with Adam Wright, Kevin Gordon, and Taylor Swift (Can I still call her a Nashvillian? I’m really interested in where she chooses to go next as a songwriter.)
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
The Station Inn and 3rd & Lindsley
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
A Washington D.C. hero of mine and frequent collaborator, Karl Straub.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
I’m sure there will always be collaborations with my trio partners Peter Cooper and Thomm Jutz. And I’d like to make an album of breezy pop with lots of strings and horns. It would be nice to get my musical Hangtown Dancehall staged properly. Maybe there’s another album to be made with my band Last Train Home. And I’ve been thinking of a series of digital “singles,” A-sides and B-sides, with a bunch of different people and in a bunch of different styles.