With a career spanning over three decades Billy Bragg has acquired both a massive catalog and fanbase. His engaging stage presence and brilliant songwriting have cemented him as one of the most successful folk rock singers in the world. In fact, this past January he was honored for lifetime achievement at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Along with his music, he is also quite the passionate political activist. He’s an unapologetic liberal with no reservations about getting involved in politics both in his native England and across the Pond. In 2004, Bragg even released a song with the band Less Than Jake for the Rock Against Bush compilation album. During his live performances, you can always expect Bragg will talk (and sing) politics. That shouldn’t be surprising since he’s recorded songs such as “All You Fascists Bound to Lose” and “Christ for President.” It’s been a while since we’ve had some fresh material to sink our teeth into, but that ends sooner rather than later. His newest album, the first in five years, Tooth & Nail, will be available on March 19.
Those of you who listened to his set today Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop in Austin during SXSW were treated to a handful of songs from the new album, along with some of his classics, like “Shirley (Greetings To The New Brunette)” and “The Great Leap Forward.” As expected, Bragg threw in a ton political references and mentioned that the Woody Guthrie song he was about to play was a relevant today as it was fifty years ago and then launched in to “I Ain’t Got No Home In This World Anymore.” Bragg’s humor was ever apparent and his wit quick and sharp, as the bicycle references flew at every opportunity. For those Seattleites who couldn’t make it down to Austin or even listen on air and online, worry not! Bragg will be performing at The Neptune on April 3.