Billy Bragg's World Tour Stops in Easton
Published: 24/06/2012 by: www.eastonsavvy.com
I have always known I wanted to see a Billy Bragg show. Another of the many brilliant acts that rose from England during alternative music’s assault on the mainstream, Bragg’s reputation outweighed most and he was known as one of the premiere artists of the lot—an artist’s artist, if you will. In his early years, whenever you were talking about great music or a great show, you could end up inevitably being trumped by someone who had seen Bragg live asking, “Have you seen Billy Bragg?” I hadn’t at the time and knew that I should.
2012 may be the perfect time to see an artist like Bragg. He acts the common man and sings about the common man. More than anything else in his career, that will be his legacy. He is a modern day Woody Guthrie and singer/songwriters of this tradition are always special in concert.
He was bestowed perhaps one of the biggest honors in American music over the last 20 years when he was offered the task from Guthrie’s daughter, Nora, of putting music to the thousands of lyrics her father had written but was unable to set to music on account of suffering from Huntington’s disease. Bragg, along with American rock and roll band Wilco, put out Mermaid Avenue (named for the street where Guthrie lived) to critical acclaim. The legendary music critic Robert Cristgau says of the album, “It rewrites history a little, shaking off the inhibitions of the past with a post-modern shrug as it reminds us what hopeful music used to feel like. It's the best of two worlds.”
When his world tour hits the Avalon, Bragg will perform music from the Mermaid Avenue sessions in the first set acoustic (he and Wilco have released 17 more songs from Guthrie’s collection in April). The second set will feature electric music from his own vast and intriguing collection. His hit, “Sexuality” may be worth the price of admission alone. Have I seen Billy Bragg? No but I won’t miss him this time.
The following are the highlights from a concert review of his current tour.
“Bragg performed a two-hour show, playing his songs and engaging in several conversations with the audience. He joked about soccer and the current European Championship. He even talked about his family and his teenage years. However, it was not just light-hearted. Bragg is well known for his deep involvement in political issues. He has written many political songs along with his infamous love songs, hence the talks about the current state of the world were more than expected.”
“This said, you did not have to share Bragg’s political values in order to enjoy his show. The messages he sent to the audience were mainly of respect, and the importance of general commitment to build a better world. The kind of vision portrayed by the singer is shared by people who can claim different political affiliation or none at all.”
“Bragg was perfect in reconciling the talks and the music, resulting in an extremely passionate and touching show. It was one of those performances that are not easily forgotten.”
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by Terri Spicer
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