"One of the country's most formidable roots-rock bands."
That's the assessment of the Nashville Tennessean about the band Last Train Home. And while roots-rock is the core of LTH's sound, don't overlook the country, swing, bluegrass, blues, folk, punk, pop, and Tin Pan Alley influences you'll find if you give this band a listen. Since its beginnings in 1997, Last Train Home has evolved from a five-piece part-time band in Washington D.C. to a full-time touring unit, with more than a dozen members across five states. You'll usually see them as a 6-piece, on any given night.
Named Washington D.C.'s "Artist of the Year" in 2003, Last Train Home went full-time the same year. Its frontman, Eric Brace, is a former staff writer for The Washington Post where he was a music columnist covering the local music and nightlife scene, and also played in several bands before launching Last Train Home in 1997.
In Last Train Home since the beginning are bassist Jim Gray and drummer Martin Lynds. Along with Eric, those two made the move to Nashville in 2003 when the band decided to go full-time. In Music City, they met many amazing musicans who've added so much, including keyboard player Jen Gunderman (formerly of the Jayhawks), and several great guitarists: Dave Coleman; Tom Mason; Jon Byrd; Tim Carroll... They've all added to the LTH sound. To backtrack, up in Washington, when LTH began it was Bill Williams on lead guitar, Dave Van Allen on pedal steel, and Alan Brace on mandolin and harmonica. Soon the band grew to include guitarists Scott McKnight and Jared Bartlett, trumpeter Kevin Cordt, and saxophonist Chris Watling. When LTH went full-time, only Eric, Jim, and Martin could be there at every gig. Bill, Scott, Jared, and Alan had to bow out, while Dave, Kevin, and Chris play when they can. Other steel players currently playing with LTH are Nashvillians Pete Finney and Alex McCullough. Let's not forget about Steve Wedemeyer: LTH met Steve while on a tour of Germany in 2004, and in 2006 he moved from his Texas home to live in Nashville. He spent 18 months there touring full-time with the band, making his mark on its releases "Last Good Kiss," and the live concert DVD "Live at IOTA." He still plays with the band whenever he can.
In October, 2007, the band released its first concert film, "LTH Live @ IOTA," on its own Red Beet Records label. It's a stunning document of a band at the peak of its powers, playing at the club it called home for years in Arlington, VA. The band is an 8-piece, so revel in the big sound of this "large band" : Eric Brace (acoustic guitar), Kevin Cordt (trumpet), Jim Gray (bass), Jen Gunderman (keyboards, accordion), Martin Lynds (drums), Dave Van Allen (pedal steel), Chris Watling (saxophones), Steve Wedemeyer (electric guitar).
The most recent CD, "Last Good Kiss" (March, 2007), was recorded in Nashville with Steve and Jen on all the tracks, along with Eric, Martin, and Jim. They're joined on a couple of songs by LTH trumpeter Kevin Cordt. It's easily the band's deepest and best recording, created in a spirit of collaboration (all five primary musicians receive "producer" credit). In Europe, "Last Good Kiss" was released on Corazong Records, a Dutch label. But in the U.S., "Last Good Kiss" appeared on Red Beet Records, a label begun by Eric, and which has relelased other stunning CDs: "The Skylighters" (a bluegrass/country side-project featuring bluegrass legends Mike Auldridge and Jimmy Gaudreau, along with Eric, Martin, and Jim), and debuts from Peter Cooper and Fayssoux McLean; "The Other Side: Music From East Nashville" (a two disc compilation of East Nashville artists, such as Todd Snider, Kevin Gordon, Garrison Starr, Kieran Kane, and 25 more; and "Yuletide On the Other Side: More Music From East Nashville." The band has played more than a thousand shows over the years, including tours of Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and the Virgin Islands. In the summer of 2005, LTH appeared on the CBS "Late Late Show w/ Craig Ferguson" and on the acclaimed syndicated public radio show "Mountain Stage."