We are not going to tell you who Billy Bragg is – you have, dearest reader, no right not to know. We are, after all, all born knowing Billy Bragg songs. So we won’t mention the dozens of albums, the hit singles and the political activism, we all know this – right? So, what’s new in Billy Bragg’s world? Plenty.
First up there’s a new album coming – “The Million Things That Never Happened’, will be released on October 2021 on Cooking Vinyl. It’s described as a Pandemic Blues album, and contains a dozen new songs by Bragg (the final song on the album ‘Ten Mysterious Photos That Can’t Be Explained’ is co-written by Billy’s son Jack Valero). A first taste of the new material can be found below – ‘I will be your Shield‘ is, says Bragg “the heart and soul of the album. I’ve come to the conclusion that empathy is the currency of music – that our job as songwriters is to help people come to terms with their feelings by offering them examples of how others may have dealt with a situation similar to that in which listeners find themselves. After what we’ve all been through, the idea of being a shield, physically, emotionally, psychologically, really resonates.”
New album then, what else? Well on Thursday 9th September 2021, a month prior to the album release, there’s a special online concert experience ‘Billy Bragg On…‘, which will be streamed on the Stabal platform. The show will feature the first outing of some songs from the new album, plus some nuggets from Bragg’s illustrious catalogue. He is joined onstage by Romeo Stodart (guitar), Michele Stodart (bass), Darren Beckett (drums), Nick Pynn (lap steel guitar, violin) and Jack Valero (guitar), who all played on ‘The Million Things That Never Happened‘.
OK – Billy Bragg will also undertake a live in-person actual tour this Autumn, (assuming that The Summer of Catch Covid to get Herd Immunity [not quite so catchy as The Summer of Love] hasn’t piled the bodies so high that a new lockdown is required) with the following dates.
Thurs 21 GATESHEAD – Sage Gateshead
Fri 22 DUNDEE – Fat Sam’s
Sat 23 GLASGOW – Barrowland Ballroom
Tues 26 LIVERPOOL – Philharmonic Hall
Wed 27 OXFORD – New Theatre
Thurs 28 BIRMINGHAM – Symphony Hall
Sat 30 CARDIFF – St David’s Hall
Sun 31 SOUTHAMPTON – 02 Guildhall
Tues 2 BELFAST – Ulster Hall
Thurs 4 DUBLIN – Vicar Street
Sat 6 GALWAY – Black Box Theatre
Wed 10 READING – Hexagon
Thurs 11 EXETER – University Great Hall
Fri 12 BRISTOL – 02 Academy
Tues 16 GUILDFORD – G Live
Thurs 18 CAMBRIDGE – Corn Exchange
Fri 19 NOTTINGHAM – Rock City
Sat 20 MANCHESTER – Albert Hall
Sun 21 SHEFFIELD – City Hall
Tues 23 BRIGHTON – Dome
Thurs 25 SOUTHEND-ON-SEA – Cliffs Pavilion
Fri 26 FOLKESTONE – Leas Cliff Hall
Sat 27 LONDON – Roundhouse
And that’s all – apart from a rumor that Billy Bragg will be taking a breather at the end of November, relaxing with a Fairtrade cup of tea and an ethical biscuit. Which, we’re sure you’ll agree he’ll have more than earned.