Billy Bragg targets relationships in new album

Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:58am EDT
 
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg has mellowed over time, and the political activist is happy to focus more on struggles with relationships in his new album than political battles.

Bragg, 55, made his name railing against Britain's right-wing government in the 1980s, a self-confessed angry young man who was spurred on by the miners' strike to use music to fight social injustice and then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Fast-forward 30 years and Bragg found himself disillusioned with the record industry and the X-Factor phenomenon of instant fame, wondering if there was still room for an ageing singer who enjoyed performing but had no interest in the charts.

But a few comments on his Twitter feed from people listening to some of his more romantic songs to overcome broken hearts reminded him of the demand for love songs and resulted in "Tooth & Nail", Bragg's first album in five years.

"This album became a way of moving to the next thing, of moving on," Bragg told Reuters in an interview on the eve of a tour of the United States and Canada.

"I felt if I didn't come back to the recording industry I would be surrendering, saying I am too old, too political."

His 12th studio album is a far cry from his debut album in 1983, "Life's A Riot With Spy Vs Spy," in which the former army recruit from Dagenham, Essex, who left school aged 16, sang about the education system and unemployment.

One song from that album, "A New England", became a chart hit for Kirsty MacColl and is probably Bragg's best known song.   Continued...

 
Musician Billy Bragg poses inside his hotel room in New York in this file photograph dated October 16, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/files