FAME Review: Eric Brace & Peter Cooper - The Comeback Album
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper - The Comeback Album

The Comeback Album

Eric Brace & Peter Cooper

Red Beet Records - RBR CD 015

Available from Red Beet Records' online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

The title to Eric Brace & Peter Cooper's latest is something of a tongue in cheekery, as neither has gone actually very far from our ears either as solo artists or in duet. After all, 'twas only a little over two years past that the pair's Master Session (here) hit the racks, the same year that Cooper's Lloyd Green CD (here) saw the light of day, both of them on Eric Brace's Red Beet label. The gents have a fondness for humor, satire, and irony along with all that folk, roots, and country music they twang out, so, no, they didn't go nowheres, Ezra, snug and sound in this latest 12-spot.

I've been noting a return to form in a number of genres—trad jazz, acoustic blues, latinate modes, etc.…and The Comeback Album falls in that category as well. The vibe and essence of early modern folkways are quite palpable here. More so than in other albums, I'm catching very distinct echoes and passages reflecting the Limelighters, Kingston Trio, Peter Paul & Mary, Brewer & Shipley, even the Smothers Brothers. In a political venue, I've been discussing identity politics, and Brace & Cooper lightly hit on that in the opening cut, Ancient History, referring back to well-known figures and places amid branding or escapist pseudonyms, noting that "every passing moment is ancient history" pointing to an unguessable future. Too true.

Speaking of elder music statesmen, Duane Eddy and Mac Wiseman sit in on Brace & Cooper's take on Tom T. Hall's Mad, a cut that details some poor guy hightailing it out of town while his lover is fit to be tied and cussing his consarned rear from here to the county seat and back again. Then there are the more existential matters, as in Nobody Knows, revealing the bracing/alarming verity that, to put it in the CD liner's own words, "it is at once both reassuring and disconcerting to realize that the smartest folks in the world don't know what the hell is going on either".

Whew! Thank God, 'cause I thought it was just me. Still, I think if all them thar brainiacs jes' sat down and listened to The Comeback Album, they'd realize a hell of a lot of those consternations they dance angels on the head of will quite readily fade into proper magnitude when confronted with art, music, and a good goddamned beer, Hezekiah. Keep Schopenhauer on the backburner, and settle in instead with The Comeback Album. It won't bust your brain like Big Artie will, bless the irascible bastard, but instead put a nice wide smile on your face while re-arranging a few memories for better contemplation.

Track List:

  • Ancient History (Brace / Cooper)
  • Ponzi Scheme (Brace / Cooper)
  • Thompson Street (Cooper / Maultsby)
  • Johnson City (Brace / Cooper)
  • Mad (Tom T. Hall)
  • She Can't Be Herself (P.Cooper / C.Cooper)
  • Kissing Booth (Eric Brace)
  • Nobody Knows (Brace / Cooper)
  • Boxcars (Brace / Cooper)
  • Carolina (Karl Straub)
  • Sailor (Brace / Cooper)
  • Rain Just Falls (David Halley)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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