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Episode 58 - Billy Bragg

Music Makers and Soul Shakers

In March of 2016, I'll be releasing a weekly podcast that delves into the lives, careers and studio experiences of musicians, music producers, and even a few music biz-types who have been involved in excellent music. Some will be artists you recognize, others will be the musicians behind the scenes you may not be aware of, but each one has a great story to tell and brings a perspective to great music that will be of interest to music fans of all kinds. Stay tuned here and subscribe if you'd like to hear each episode as it gets released starting in March!

Episode 58 - Billy Bragg

steve dawson

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My guest this month is the incredibly original singer, songwriter, author and activist, Billy Bragg. Bragg was the leading figure of the anti-folk movement of the '80s, and for most of the decade, he bashed out songs alone on his electric guitar, singing about politics and love. While his lyrics were bitingly intelligent and clever, they were also warm and humane, filled with detail and wit. Even though his lyrics were carefully considered, Bragg never neglected to write melodies for songs that were strong and memorable. With a strong DIY ethic and punk-rock attitude, Billy recorded an incredible body of work from the late 70's up through his recent collaborations with Joe Henry. Billy went from his obscure first recordings (which are awesome) through commercial success, working with artists like Paul Weller and Johnny Marr. Kirsty MacColl had a hit with "New England" and Billy's own solo recordings gained attention worldwide. Then in 1998, he teamed up with Wilco to record Mermaid Avenue, a collection of performances based on unreleased songs originally written by Woody Guthrie. That spawned 2 follow-up records that are all incredible documents of Americana. His latest records, "Tooth and Nail" and "Shine a Light: Field Recordings from the Great American Railroad" mark a new direction in his work and prove that he's as vital as ever. He has also recently released an incredible book that details the history of skiffle music in Britain entitled "Roots, Radicals and Rockers". Thanks go out to Joe Henry for introducing us, and please enjoy my conversation with Billy Bragg!