Last Train Home
And the Silos
8 p.m. tomorrow
The Barns of Wolf Trap
The Barns is a perfect setting for roots rockers, and tomorrow offers a great pairing of two such bands -- a local favorite about to make a big move, plus a national act with a history of independent acclaim.
One hesitates to call the Silos an opening act, as this respected cult band could easily headline. Since establishing the Silos in the mid-1980s with the since-departed Bob Rupe, guitarists-vocalist Walter Salas-Humara has released numerous CDs under the band name, plus solo work that has made him a wanted man in critics' polls.
The Silos' 1987 album "Cuba," is a minor indie-rock classic (recently reissued on CD with bonus tracks), and the Salas-Humara songbook is stocked with melodic folk rock in the R.E.M. and Byrds manner.
Though the band has undergone numerous personnel changes and music industry neglect, the Silos, touring now as a trio (with Drew Glackin on bass and lap steel guitar, and Konrad Meissner on drums), are still going strong.
There's triumph, too, in the appearance of Last Train Home, the large country rock band led by Eric Brace. Yeah, he's the same guy who writes The Washington Post's Nightwatch column -- so he knows how it feels on both sides of the spotlight. Having attended dozens of Barns shows, Brace calls it "one of the best venues anywhere to see live music, so for Last Train Home to be the headlining band there is huge for me." The band opened there for Cravin' Dogs three years ago, Brace said, "so I know what it feels like to be on that stage -- and it feels amazing, by the way -- but I'm really looking forward to being the 'featured attraction,' as they say."
It's an exciting and perhaps bittersweet time for Brace. He's taking a leave of absence from the paper in January to devote his full energies to music.
In the past six years, the band has received multiple Washington Area Music Association awards (Wammies) and watched its local fan base grow, even as its members juggled other obligations. "Eventually," Brace said, "it became clear that we could either just continue being a popular local band, playing a couple of times a month, or that maybe we could give a shot at making a career out of it."
With a new record, "Time and Water," due out in January on a New York-based indie, Last Train Home decided it was time to spring for the full ride. "We want to do our best to get our music in front of as many people as possible," Brace said.
At press time, this Barns event was close to selling out, though the Wolf Trap Web site offered the possibility of last-minute tickets.
If you can't get to this gig, don't despair -- the Silos will be back in Northern Virginia early in the new year, and Last Train Home will be making lots more local station stops now that Brace is (almost) a free man.
-- Marianne Meyer
The Barns are at 1635 Trap Road, Vienna. Tickets for the general admission concert are $15 and can be purchased at the Barns box office; by calling Tickets.com at 703- 218-6500; or online at www.wolftrap.org. For more information, call Wolf Trap at 703- 938-2404 or visit its Web site.
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