Billy Bragg has carved out two very different niches for himself on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Having come up in London during the 1970s and '80s under the iron rule of Margaret Thatcher, Bragg is today recognized in his homeland as one of the country's most accomplished protest musicians. Here in America, however, he's well-known for his collaboration with Wilco called Mermaid Avenue
, in which he brings to life the unpublished songs of American protest singer Woody Guthrie.
Bragg's latest album, Tooth & Nail
, was met with some surprise among rabble-rousers back home upon its release. A record of mostly inward-facing songs that take place within the four walls of a person's home, it's the work of an artist, now in his mid-50s, beginning a slow march toward the twilight of his career -- and even his life.
When Gimme Noise spoke with Bragg over the phone ahead of his visit to the Cedar Cultural Center tonight, he was in a reflective mood -- but that didn't stop his dry humor from coming through, nor impede his love for spinning a good yarn. You could even say it veered into "TMI" territory.More »