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Last Train Home

True North – 1999 (Adult Swim)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by Last Train Home

This second release from D.C.-area sextet Last Train Home showcases the band's weakness for sad songs. Well, make that their strength for sad songs. Fronted by Washington Post columnist Eric Brace, Last Train Home never gets too rowdy, instead opting for a soothingly soulful sound that crawls right through you. Brace's soft, introspective vocals are perfectly backed with a variety of instruments, including mandolin, violin, piano and steel guitar. Songs that tell sad stories, like the title track and A.P. Carter's "Lover's Farewell," are so gorgeously done you forget all about getting depressed. But it's not all heartbroken-and-left-for-dead country songs.

"Doughnut Girl" is a funny and sweet tale of true love at the Krispy Kreme, and the road ode "Never Been to Memphis," with lead vocals by Brace's brother, Alan, sounds like a buried treasure from '80's college radio. Come to think about it, the entire album sounds like a treasure. (P.O. Box 1535, Arlington, VA 22210-0835, Last Train Home)