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Monday, 15 April 2013 22:35

Charting the Music: Billy Bragg, 'Tooth and Nail'

Charting the Music: Billy Bragg, 'Tooth and Nail'
Written by Scott Knipshild
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On “Tooth And Nail," Billy Bragg shows listeners his enduring hunger for musical variety -- not an easy feat to accomplish after 15 studio albums and over 33 years in the music industry.

Bragg’s latest work reveals a subtle departure from his signature protest songs, leaning towards heartfelt ballads touching on much more personal issues. The UK based singer-songwriter flew all the way across the pond to record this one at producer Joe Henry’s studio in Pasadena, California. This polished sounding record surprisingly only took five days to track.

88.1 KDHX chart position: #2 CMJ Top 30 for April 2, 2013, #2 Americana for April 9, 2013, and #2 Adult Album Alternative for March 19, 2013.

Record label, release date and producer: “Tooth and Nail” was released by Cooking Vinyl on March 19, 2013 and was produced by Joe Henry.

Can be heard on: Interstate with Pat Wolfe, Juxtaposition with Rob Levy, and Memphis to Manchester with John Wendland.

RIYL: Pre Buckingham-Nicks Fleetwood Mac, Townes Van Zandt and live-sounding studio albums.

Hometown: Barking, Essex, UK.

Standout tracks: On “No One Knows You Anymore” Bragg crafts an infectious vocal melody; on the album’s closing track “Tomorrow’s Going to Be a Better Day” has a powerful message that draws “Tooth and Nail” to a calm and positive ending.

This label: Cooking Vinyl was founded by Martin Goldschmidt and Pete Lawrence in 1986. Originally gravitating solely towards contemporary folk music, this UK-based record label has since broadened its horizon to the likes of electronica, punk and industrial-metal artists.

Play it while: Reading a Western novel by Elmore Leonard.

About the album art: The cover of “Tooth and Nail” is a full-body profile portrait of Billy Bragg holding his vintage ES-125.

Did you know: Bragg joined the Royal British Army but left the force after having completed basic training; he “bought” his way out of the army for £175 (about $267.91).

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