Sunday, January 14, 2018

Billy Bragg's World

I sometimes hear it suggested that musicians and other artists should keep politics out of their work and "just" perform. More than once I have heard this from fans who have somehow heard their favorite musicians for years without ever listening to them. Music does not have to be about something, but quite often it is -- and quite often it makes a difference.

Billy Bragg
(LA Review of Books)
To start the new year, Boston radio journalist Christopher Lydon decided to reprise a fascinating and wide-ranging discussion he had had in 2017 with British troubadour Billy Bragg. Those familiar with Lydon's earlier program The Connection will be pleasantly surprised to hear that he now knows how to interview with a few deft questions. The result is Billy Bragg's Guide to the Music of Dissent -- a relaxed conversation about the relationship between music and social change, from the blues to punk to anti-fascism. In addition to uncovering a lot of interesting connections among musicians, Bragg offers thought-provoking ideas about the role of music listeners.

The discussion is based on Bragg's book Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World, which is also the subject of a print interview with Scott Timberg of the Los Angeles Review of Books.

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