CD Review - Eric Brace and Peter Cooper 'You Don't Have to Like Them Both'

Eric Brace, left, and Peter Cooper are in tune.
Eric Brace, left, and Peter Cooper are in tune. (By Erick Andersen)
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Friday, March 13, 2009

ERIC BRACE & PETER COOPER "You Don't Have to Like Them Both" Red Beet

LIKE COLLEGE roommates with remarkably similar record collections, Eric Brace and Peter Cooper are as compatible as can be on their first duo CD, an album largely devoted to songs composed by the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Jim Lauderdale, David Olney and Todd Snider.

Brace (a former Post writer), best known as the frontman for Last Train Home, and Cooper, a well-regarded Nashville-based singer-songwriter, also contribute original tunes to "You Don't Have to Like Them Both." In fact, Brace's "I Know a Bird," a stark reflection on loss and suffering tinted with Appalachian twang, and Cooper's "Denali, Not McKinley," a history lesson both pointed and amusing, are among the album's highlights. Yet most of its rewards derive from songs that Brace and Cooper refresh with the help of notable pickers, including lap steel guitar vet Lloyd Green and multi-instrumentalist Tim O'Brien.

Splitting the lead vocals and sharing harmonies, Brace and Cooper may not have set out to showcase songs that deserve greater exposure, but the performances of Olney's nostalgic charmer "Omar's Blues" and Snider's bittersweet reminiscence "Yesterdays and Used to Be's" do that just the same. It's also a pleasure to hear the duo dust off Kristofferson's early Nashville blues, "Just the Other Side of Nowhere."

-- Mike Joyce

Appearing Monday at Saint Mark Presbyterian Church in Rockville (301-530-0600, Show starts at 7:30 p.m.

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