The planets have aligned for Last Train Home. Bolstered by the additions of Steve Wedemeyer and Jen Gunderman (The Jayhawks, Dag, Caitlin Cary) and a recent move to Nashville, Last Train Home entered 2007 with the world as their oyster. Marking a decade of making music this year, the band celebrated with a February release of their fourth full length album, Last Good Kiss.
The band is led by former Washington Post columnist and arguably the hardest working person in East Nashville, Eric Brace (Rhythm guitar, voice). In addition to Wedemeyer (Guitar) and Gunderman (Keys) the band is rounded out by anchors Jim Carson Gray (Bass), Martin Lynds (Drums, voice) and rotating members Kevin Cordt (Trumpet, violin, voice) and Dave Van Allen (Pedal Steel Guitar, Lap Steel). The truth regarding Gunderman is that she’s not officially a full time member, but she may as well be as she plays with them often and her influence on this album is brilliantly apparent.
Last Good Kiss marks a slightly new sound for the band. Whereas in the past they’ve largely been labeled as an americana or alt-country band with this latest release they take a jazzier trek accentuated by the addition of Gunderman and the strength of the tried and true rhythm section of Gray and Lynds. This notion is punctuated by Claire Small‘s backing vocals on the blissful closing track “The Color Blue”. Not that the core elements of what historically classified the band as country aren’t still there, they are. Its just that the sound is notably a new direction from the previous release Bound Away. Thematically, we find Last Good Kiss exploring the humanness of overcoming heartbreak and loss (“Go Now”) triumphing through love (“You”), compassion and optimism (“I’m Coming Home). With a nod to prove the band is truly gelling, Last Good Kiss is the most collaborative album they’ve produced to date though Brace still handles the bulk of the songwriting.
While Last Good Kiss is a tremendous album from start to finish, it still seems that the best is yet to come. They’ve got an all-star lineup and the necessary momentum to further establish themselves in the americana and country music scenes but they seem a little too reserved on this album. Its as if the new collaboration is great and marks new territory for them, but they just haven’t kicked off their boots and just let loose. The lead off track “Last Good Kiss” hints that this is possible with its rockin’ up tempo jam. But its misleading as to the tone of the rest of the record as the energy fizzles way too quickly to a handful of low tempo ballads. This is not to say the album suffers. The songwriting, balladry and musicianship are top notch and carry this album through. Last Train Home has an established history of making great music and many will say that this is their best to date. In many ways, it is.
To get a better representation of the strengths of the band and this album you’ll want to download “I’m Coming Home”. If you like it, do yourself a favor and grab the whole album (iTunes).
Download: “I’m Coming Home” (MP3)*
“Last Good Kiss”
All being said, Last Good Kiss is worthy of a high recommendation from Twangville. Keep your eye on these rising stars and be sure to see them in your neck of the woods.
Upcoming Tour Dates
Iota Club & Cafe
Iota Club & Cafe
Iota Club & Cafe
The Corner Lounge
Pocahontas State Park
Dan’s Silver Leaf
Oklahoma City, OK
The Blue Door
* Posted with permission from Eric Brace
About the author: Washington, D.C. area web designer by day. Certifiable music freak by night. Husband and father of two by the loving grace of God.