The new trio Eric Brace, Peter Cooper & Thomm Jutz is not really new at all.
Eric and Peter have recorded and toured together for almost a decade now, and their last two albums were recorded in Thomm’s studio, with Thomm in the role as recording engineer, producer, guitarist, and harmony singer. Whenever they could, they’ve taken Thomm on the road, a sideman extraordinaire whose sublime flatpicking guitar style elevates anything Thomm weaves it into. But Eric and Peter knew that Thomm was also a world class songwriter, and they kept twisting his arm to take front-and-center during their shows and sing a few of his own compositions. It was only a matter of time before the duo-into-trio transformation became official. It was a matter of making a record. Which they’ve now done. As a trio.
Called Profiles in Courage, Frailty, and Discomfort (no, really) the album is out on Eric’s East Nashville label Red Beet Records, and it has 14 songs by all three members, tackling such weighty topics as moonwalks, steamboat captaining, dollar-slots, Johnny Cash’s gravesite, Jerry Lee Lewis’s birthplace, Willie Nelson’s notions of eternity, the downside of Parkersburg, West Virginia, and a Tennessee town flooded for the sake of electricity.
Eric and Peter were nominated for a Grammy for producing I Love: Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow, their 2011 release on Red Beet Records that featured them, along with Patti Griffin, Bobby Bare, Jim Lauderdale, Duane Eddy, and Tom T. Hall himself, all reprising tunes from his classic kids record of 1974, Songs of Fox Hollow.
Thomm Jutz made his way to Nashville in 2003, something he had dreamed about for years. When he was a 13-year-old kid watching TV in his family home in the Black Forest of Germany one night, Bobby Bare came on a German variety show and sang his hits “Detroit City” and “Tequila Sheila.” Like a bolt from above, young Thomm knew right then that he was going to play guitar and move to Nashville. Twenty years later, he did just that.
In Nashville, Thomm immediately became an indispensable sideman to acclaimed artists Nanci Griffith, Mary Gauthier, and Maura O’Connell. After building a recording studio he has become one of the most sought after producers of acoustic music in Music City, with production credits on albums by Nanci Griffith, Jason Ringenberg, Sid Griffin, Mac Wiseman, and many more.
Together, Eric, Peter, and Thomm weave stories, songs, harmonies, and guitar playing into something very special. The lyrics are as thoughtful as those of their heroes, a list that includes John Prine, John Hartford, Kris Kristofferson, Tom T. Hall, Paul Simon, and Townes Van Zandt. Add harmonies that bring to mind the Seldom Scene, Emmylou Harris, and the Everly Brothers, and sumptuous guitar arrangements, and you have a truly memorable evening of music.