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Billy Bragg Announces New Album, Tour

Billy Bragg
Cooking Vinyl

March 19 will see the release of ‘Tooth & Nail’ by British songwriter Billy Bragg, his first album since 2008′s ‘Mr. Love & Justice.’ Bragg also announced a six-week tour of North America that will kick off at SXSW.

Bragg recorded the album in five days with noted producer Joe Henry and his usual stable of rootsy musicians: pedal steel wizard Greg Leisz, keyboardist Patrick Warren, drummer Jay Bellerose and bassist David Piltch. It was the quickest recording of an album for Bragg since his 1983 debut, ‘Life’s a Riot with Spy vs. Spy.’ Almost unheard of in these times, the album is entirely live, with no re-takes or overdubs of any kind.

Although Bragg is primarily known for his political material, ‘Tooth & Nail’ finds him writing about another of his favorite topics, the pitfalls of relationships. The decision to put aside politics came during a period of soul-searching following the death of his mother in 2011. He read a tweet from a fan that called him “The Sherpa of Heartbreak,” which reminded him that he was, in fact, quite adept at writing love songs.

Two of the tracks on ‘Tooth & Nail,’ ‘Over You’ and ‘Your Name on My Tongue,’ were co-written with Henry. Another song, ‘I Ain’t Got No Home,’ is a cover of a Woody Guthrie song. ‘Handyman Blues,’ the first single from ‘Tooth & Nail,’ can be downloaded for free from Bragg’s website.

Bragg achieved fame in the post-punk 1980s as sort of a “one-man Clash,” singing leftist anthems armed with only an electric guitar and the passion of his convictions. In the U.S., he’s best known for his run of alternative hits in the late 1980s, early 1990s, including ‘She’s Got a New Spell’ and ‘Sexuality.’

‘Tooth & Nail’ is Bragg’s 11th studio album of original material. In the late 1990s, he collaborated with Wilco on the ‘Mermaid Avenue’ project, in which they wrote music to unreleased lyrics and poems by Guthrie. The three albums’ worth of material and a documentary were released together in a box set last year, the 100th anniversary of Guthrie’s birth.

‘Tooth & Nail’ Track Listing

1. ‘January Song’
2. ‘No One Knows Nothing Anymore’
3. ‘Handyman Blues’
4. ‘I Ain’t Got No Home’
5. ‘Swallow My Pride’
6. ‘Do Unto Others’
7. ‘Over You’
8. ‘Goodbye, Goodbye’
9. ‘There Will Be A Reckoning’
10. ‘Chasing Rainbows’
11. ‘Your Name On My Tongue’
12. ‘Tomorrow’s Going To Be A Better Day’

Billy Bragg 2013 North American Tour

March 14 – 16: Austin, Texas
March 23: Englewood, Colo.
March 24: Albuquerque, N.M.
March 26: Phoenix, Ariz.
March 28: Los Angeles, Calif.
March 29: San Francisco, Calif.
March 30: Petaluma, Calif.
April 2: Portland, Ore.
April 3: Seattle, Wash.
April 4: Victoria, British Columbia
April 5: Vancouver, British Columbia
April 6: Nelson, British Columbia
April 8: MacEwan Hall – Calgary, Alberta
April 9: Regina, Saskatchewan
April 10: Winnipeg, Manitoba
April 12, 13: Chicago, Ill.
April 15: Iowa City, Iowa
April 17: Nashville, Tenn
April 19: Carrboro, N.C.
April 20: Glensdale, Penn.
April 21: Morgantown, W.V.
April 22: Annapolis, Md.
April 26: Ithaca, N.Y.
April 27: New York, N.Y.
April 28: Boston, Mass.
April 30: Cincinnati, Ohio
May 1: Ann Arbor, Mich.

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