Last Train Home is known for its melodic, earnest country-rock. The beginnings of Last Train Home can be traced back to an opening slot for the Waco Brothers in 1997 at the Black Cat club in Washington, D.C. Frontman Eric Brace, who was born in California and raised in the D.C. area (his father was an urban planner), had begun playing live music at Tufts college near Boston with the bluegrass band the Mystic Valley Mountaineers. His brother, mandolin and harmonica player Alan Brace, had played with the Pinetop Rhythm Band in Fort Collins, CO. In the mid-'80s, the brothers formed B-Time, a guitar pop/new wave band that released an EP. After that, the Braces moved on to the Beggars, joining with future Last Train Home pedal steel player Dave Van Allen and other musicians.
The Beggars, a more rootsy outfit, lasted for only a short time and Eric ended up playing bass in Kevin Johnson and the Linemen, along with future Last Train Home guitarist Bill Williams. Eric and Williams left the group in 1994 and rejoined with Alan, Scott McKnight (bass), Evan Pollack (drums), and mandolin player James Key. They eventually called themselves Last Train Home after a song Eric and Jim Greenfield had written in the '80s. When this version of the group disintegrated, Martin Lynds (drums) and Jim Gray (bass) were recruited. Gray had been a bassist with Kelly Willis' first group Kelly & the Fireballs. This is the incarnation that opened for the Wacos, beginning the definitive career of Last Train Home. A self-titled debut followed shortly after, in December 1997. Scott McKnight rejoined a couple of years later and the group released the album True North in 1999. The band has also recorded songs for tributes to the Blasters and Gene Clark. Frontman Eric Brace is also a music journalist and arts editor at The Washington Post. ~ Erik Hage