“The Lloyd Green Album”
Eric Brace and Peter Cooper
Red Beet Records
Sure, Peter Cooper is the star on these two new Red Beet releases. He’s a fine country singer and songwriter, and a terrific guitar player.
But, the real twang comes from pedal steel ace Lloyd Green, who appears on both albums. For more than 50 years, Green’s lonesome pedal steel has lifted recordings for everyone from George Jones, Don Williams, Nanci Griffith and Johnny Paycheck, to Paul McCartney and The Byrds.
The songs on the “Lloyd Green Album,” most of them Cooper originals, are spare and clean, with a little harmony help from Rodney Crowell, Kim Carnes, Julie Lee and others. When Cooper does borrow songs, they fit in nicely with his laid-back style, including Tom T. Hall’s “Mama, Bake a Pie,” Kris Kristofferson’s “Here Comes That Rainbow Again” and a forlorn take on John Hiatt’s “Train to Birmingham.”
The pace picks up just a little on the “Master Sessions” album with guitarist Eric Brace, Mike Auldridge on dobro, Richard Bennett, Jen Gunderman and others. Herb Pedersen’s classic “Wait a Minute” opens the album with Kenny Chesney holding up the bottom of the harmony vocals. “Suffer a Fool” and “Circus” are gentle little waltzes, while “Behind Your Back” is a classic honky-tonk shuffler.
If all that’s not enough, Cooper throws in a song called “Missoula Tonight,” a tale about love and a Montana forest fire.
“Look up and see the red flames in the black night/ Pray for a hard rain/ What else can we do?/ Come closer darlin’ there’s ash in your hair,” Cooper sings.