Eric Brace & Peter Cooper – Master Sessions – Red Beet Records RBRCD013, 44:46 *****:
We all have our heroes, and for Eric Brace and Peter Cooper, searching out and paying homage to those heroes is what “Master Sessions” is all about. On this second outing for Brace and Cooper, they include two of their all-time favorite instrumentalists, Mike Auldridge (the Dobro player from the iconic bluegrass group, the Seldom Scene) and Lloyd Green (the legendary pedal steel guitar player with more than 100 #1 hits under his belt). Auldridge and Green are the “Masters” in “Master Sessions.”
As a musical partnership, Brace and Cooper have grown a lot since last year’s “You Don’t Have to Like Them Both.” On that CD, while it was a great album, it sometimes sounded like they just took turns doing their own songs, which isn’t a bad thing. Both singers have a lot of offer by themselves. But this time around, they are working more as a team and the result is a CD that is much more cohesive as a whole. This is helped by Auldridge and Green, who provide the musical glue that holds everything together, adding a depth and emotional resonance to all the songs.
Eric Brace, whose voice is heartbreakingly earnest and eminently listenable, is the perfect match for the wryly humorous and laid back Peter Cooper. They make a good team and “Master Sessions” has turned out to be one of the best efforts of their careers so far. For fans of Americana, this is a “must-have” recording. For me, this is one of the best CDs I’ve heard this year. This gets my highest recommendation.
TrackList: Wait a Minute; Suffer a Fool; It Won’t Be Me; Missoula Tonight; Big Steve; Circus; Behind Your Back; I Flew Over Our House Last Night; Nice Old Man; Silent Night; I Wish We Had Our Time Again
– Hermon Joyner