Friday, June 29, 2012

Mr. Bragg

Last night Gwyn, Marissa and I went to a amazing show put on by Billy Bragg. If you don't know who Mr. Bragg is, you should. He started playing music in England in the 70s and has been been a major influence in a number of arenas, both musically, politically and socially. I was first made aware of him from listening to Dropkick and Street Dogs, they both have covers of his music (Which Side are You On? and There is Power in a Union respectively). You can see his influence in just about all of the bands that I love. So when Marissa mentioned that he was coming, I was certainly interested, and I am now really glad that I went.

For those of you used to Dropkick and Flogging Molly, just imagine those bands pushed in to one singer. Throw out all of the extra instruments, leave behind a guitar and a mic. Then focus on the message and meaning of the music. That is about right...

Mr. Bragg started the show, as he put it opening for himself, with a number of pieces by and stories about Woody Guthrie. If you are feeling even more musically out of the loop, Guthrie was the composer of 'This Land is Our Land.' Guthrie was a cornerstone of American folk, and did a lot of composing and collecting of songs, but was not able to record before he died in 1967. In comes Billy Bragg and Wilco (the later being an American alternative band). Nora Guthrie (Woody's daughter) approached Bragg to compose her fathers songs in this modern time. Long story short, the first part was a wonderful look back in to American musical history.


The acoustic guitar was swapped out for an electric one, and Mr. Bragg went in to his own repertoire for the second set. His music varies from personal reflection to strong political statements (like The is Power in a Union). In between songs he would drift in and out of stories and political rallying. Which, as the court upheld the Health Care Act, there was a lot of material for him to talk about.

He summed his political stance to the necessity for compassion and love, both personally and collectively. To be very specific, the liberal interpretation of the previous comment. To which he joked, don't get your red flags out yet... Mr. Bragg, if you were an American National, I would vote for you.

Walking out of the theater, it was interesting to have experienced both a great musician, as well as a great voice of reason.

Oh... and before that we hit up Deli-icious.  Mmmm... it is becoming my favorite sandwich shop.

1 comment:

  1. I would put the Billy Bragg/Wilco album in my top 5 ever.....
    Stephanie (Gwyn's sis)