Billy Bragg Returns To The U.S.
(From Pollstar.com) The England-born Billy Bragg has always embodied the folk music spirit of trying to change the world through song. Or, for that matter, just with his actions, beginning this year by refusing to pay his British taxes. For Bragg it all came down to what he believed was wrong with a political system that not only bailed out troubled U.K. banks but also stood by while those same financial institutions paid their execs gigantic bonuses with taxpayers’ money.
These days the activist-troubadour has many pans in the fire, such as his Jail Guitar Doors project, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing musical instruments to prison inmates. Last February Bragg performed with graduates of the program as well as launched Jail Guitar Doors USA at this year’s SxSW in Austin.
Bragg has also been fighting the good fight against racism. Earlier this year he played six specially written songs in a play called “Pressure Drop” that centers on a working class family torn asunder by racial politics. He also made several trips to the London neighborhood of his birth, supporting anti-fascist activists and even delivering leaflets door-to-door in opposition to the whites-only British National Party. So yes, Bragg is a folk singer with a lot on his mind.
Bragg’s upcoming U.S. tour begins in Seattle at the city’s annual Bumbershoot Festival Sept. 5; plays Minneapolis at the Cedar Cultural Center Sept. 8 and hits Milwaukee for a show at Turner Hall Sept. 9. Other stops include River Forest, Ill., at Dominican University Sept. 10; Ann Arbor at The Ark Sept. 11; Lexington at Kentucky Theatre Sept. 13; Indianapolis at the Vogue Theatre Sept. 14 and Washington at the 9:30 Club Sept. 19.
Bragg is also appearing with Mavis Staples at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles Nov. 5. For more information on the artist’s upcoming U.S. tour, go to Billy Bragg.com.
Billy Bragg, The Henry Rollins Show 5/25/07