Like many a British musician before him, Billy Bragg, bard of Barking, singer songwriter, political activist, and musical historian has made no secret of his obsession with the songs and the mythology of the Americas, not least those of his artistic and philosophical forebear Woody Guthrie.
With his friend and collaborator, US singer songwriter Joe Henry, he has made an album that focuses on the transformative part the railroad played in disseminating the songs that gave birth to the rock’n’roll era – Shine A Light – Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad.
It is a collection of railway-themed classic songs recorded in the course of a 65-hour journey across the US on the Texas Eagle railroad service.
Featuring 13 songs originally recorded by legendary singers such as Lead Belly, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Glen Campbell and more, the album is an atmospheric travelogue, a gripping lesson in musicology, but most importantly it is a beautifully recorded collection of wonderful tunes.
The duo are currently touring the UK, performing songs from Shine A Light and will be at Buxton Opera House on January 21. For tickets go to http://www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk