The Institute of Musical Traditions hosts a concert every Monday night at the St. Mark's Presbyterian church in Rockville. I went for the first time last Monday to join my 50 year old brother and his lovely wife to see Eric Brace and Peter Cooper perform. Eric and Peter are singer/songwriter guitar players and they have just released an album cleverly called "You Don't Have to Like Them Both".
Eric used to write nightclub reviews for the Weekend section of Washington Post (how do I get that job?), and at the same time he was the front man for the roots rock band Last Train Home. That became a conflict of interest, so he quit the paper gig and moved to Nashville to become a full time musician. There he met Peter Cooper, also a journalist/musicians, and through a series of "disc jockey parties" where they shared musical interests a duo was born.
Good fortune for us, this duo became a quartet on Monday, when Kevin Cordt (trumpet) and Mike Auldridge (dobro virtuoso) sat in for most of the show. Yes you read that correctly, trumpet. Kevin also plays for Last Train Home and provided an interesting jazz vibe on top of the country/Americana songs that Eric and Peter played. Mr. Auldridge has more skill, knowledge, and talent in his little finger when it comes to playing the dobro (or resophonic guitar) than most guys playing the instrument today (Fred S. being excepted). And in the second set he moved over to the pedal steel guitar and that was even sweeter.
But Eric and Peter were the stars of the show and they performed a mix of original songs (many from the new album) and covers (including tunes from Bob Dylan, Seldom Scene, and Last Train Home). Between songs they told lots of funny stories and overall it was a great 2 hours of music and fun. Original tunes included songs about Mt. Denali (not McKinley), Hank Aaron, and a really good one (Lucky Bones) cowritten with my main man Jim Lauderdale during a late night partying session.
The venue is an interesting one, it's a general purpose room with a high ceiling and excellent acoustics, I would guess seating for 150 or so and they serve snacks, coffee, tea and soda. A little weird checking out the tunes with no alcohol, but hey it's a Monday night. $20 to get in, but a chunk of that money goes to the church and the Institute.
I would love to see these guys again, and I may just pick up that CD (I like 'em both!).
Happy Birthday Ed, thanks for inviting me.