Van Morrison joins Americana Awards 2017 line-up

If we could afford to cover this in person we would, although you do avoid Van on a bad day biting your head off (sorry, lazy journalism there). Rolling Stone Country reports: “Eclectic UK rock legends Van Morrison and Graham Nash, both of whom have been directly influenced by American music will both take the stage to perform at the Americana Honors & Awards Show on September 13th at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.  Continue reading “Van Morrison joins Americana Awards 2017 line-up”

Billy Bragg’s new song tackles the new populism

As reported in Paste magazine Billy Bragg has released a new song, The Sleep of Reason, a spare electric-guitar track that aims its venom at social-media trolls, Internet addicts and folks who fly Confederate flags “just for show.” The song was inspired by Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s etching from 1799, “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.” In it Bragg casts his net over the political and social events that have overwhelmed the U.S. and the U.K. As he told Paste “The title struck a chord with me when trying to understand the events of last year. The lies and hubris of the Leave campaign in our EU referendum were echoed and amplified by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Only by restoring empathy and reason can we hope to defeat the monstrous forces of nationalism and untruth.”

Here’s the video and you can read the whole article here

Billy Bragg pays tribute to Woody Guthrie at Folk Awards – Watch

This will set your weekend off to a good start, it’ll elevate the hairs on the back of your neck (well until you read the Trump bit of the accompanying piece). Spin reports on Wednesday evening’s events: “Woody Guthrie was the hall of fame inductee at last night’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, which sort of makes you wonder who’s in the hall already if Woody’s only just now getting in. In any case, the UK folksinger Billy Bragg gave a tribute performance to the icon last night, and it was quite lovely. Bragg is probably the most easily identifiable inheritor of Guthrie’s weighty legacy as poet and troubadour of the working class–his 1998 collaborative album with Wilco Mermaid Avenue set unused Guthrie lyrics to original music–and he handled the role with gravity, performing a somber rendition of “I Ain’t Got No Home,” Guthrie’s devastating ballad of poverty. (The song was previously covered by Bruce Springsteen and Bragg himself on 2013’s Tooth and Nail.)  Continue reading “Billy Bragg pays tribute to Woody Guthrie at Folk Awards – Watch”

Billy Bragg on Question Time: “What kind of people are we?”

Billy Bragg was on fiery form on Question Time (BBC1) from Torquay last night, talking about the harsh new atmosphere of conversation in the era of Trump and the UK government’s attitude to migration. “Tony Benn once said that the way the government treats refugees is very instructive because it’s the way they would treat the rest of us if they had half the chance.” He’s on terrific form and you can watch the whole thing here although you do have to endure Ann Widdecombe and an awful bloke from UKIP as your penance.    Continue reading “Billy Bragg on Question Time: “What kind of people are we?””