Hive Five: Our Daily Listicle of Musical Musings
This week, veteran singer-songwriter Billy Bragg released his 15th studio album, Tooth & Nail. For years the British troubadour has delighted audiences and musicians alike, as he often champions the working class through elements of classic protest songs conveyed through folk music. A musicians’ musician, Bragg has also lent his vocals to a wide range of artists, both young and old. Check out these five live performance clips from the YouTube archive for a look inside his range.
1. Wilco and Billy Bragg, “California Stars”
These two teamed up for two excellent albums, Mermaid Ave. and Mermaid Ave. Vol 2, where they took found Woody Guthrie lyrics and put music to them. Here’s a performance of the now-classic Wilco show closer, “California Stars.”
2. KT Tunstall and Billy Bragg, “The Drugs Don’t Work”
These two team up for a rare cover version of the Verve’s gorgeous ballad, “The Drugs Don’t Work.” This song definitely works.
3. Frank Turner and Billy Bragg, “The Times They are A-Changin’”
Frank Turner is somewhat of a modern-day Billy Bragg, so it would only make sense that the two would team up for a cover of this Dylan classic. They could probably sing this together in their sleep.
4. Olivia Newton-John and Billy Bragg, “If Not For You”
Somewhat of an odd pairing but further proof that Bragg’s legacy extends through generations. Here, here does a stripped down version of another Dylan tune, “If Not For You,” with Olivia Newton-John.
5. Kate Nash and Billy Bragg, “New England”
Here Kate Nash and Bragg team up for “one of her favorite ever songs,” a duet on Bragg’s “New England.” It’s a fiery rendition and shows how impassioned younger generations are about his work.
Tooth & Nail is out now.