“I read somewhere that the second most googled thing after pornography is ancestry. People want to know where they come from, why they were born, where they were born. You can get facts from the web, but details are priceless and can often only be learned orally from relatives. Yet too many of us rue the fact that we are left to piece together family stories from fragments we recall because we never asked our elders those questions.”

“I like my albums to finish with a stomper. My son Jack helped me out with this one. That’s him playing electric guitar in the video. He’s a pretty good songwriter himself, and when I played him what I had, he said it’s good but it needs some work. I said well you go and do it then. So he came back and he’d added a middle section and, you know what, he was right. I was really pleased. People have asked if there might be a ‘father and son’ album down the tracks. All I will say is you never know what the future might bring. ‘Ten Mysterious Photos…’ is about life online, both good and bad. I try not to get sucked down too many wormholes, but it can happen.”

It was always my intention to record a new album in 2021. I’d planned to spend most of 2020 on the road, where I could crank out ideas for new songs in soundchecks and maybe even try a few in the live set. Things didn’t quite work out that way, of course. In the past, it has been purely personal issues that have kept me off the road and I’ve sought to come to terms with those events by writing songs that draw the listener’s attention to my individual experience.

The manner in which this pandemic has unfolded is something we’ve never faced before – a universal experience that has impinged on all of our lives. When the first lockdown was declared, I filled the space left by cancelled tours with clips and playlists that made me feel connected to my audience. When hopes of a return to normal were thwarted by the second lockdown in late 2020, I struggled to find the motivation that had driven my response to the first.

Looking for something to focus on, I booked some studio time with Romeo Stodart and Dave Izumi and began pulling songs together for a new album. Twice the dates we booked had to be postponed due to pandemic restrictions, but Romeo and Dave carried on working, creating backing tracks based on the demos I’d sent them. When we were finally able to get together in April this year, they presented me with a different way of making songs, something I found highly engaging after the lost of momentum brought on by the lockdowns.

The Million Things That Never Happened isn’t about the pandemic per se, but the highs and lows of what we’ve been through provide the backdrop for the album, as they have done for all our lives over these past two years.

“To me, I Will Be Your Shield is the heart and soul of the album. I’ve come to the conclusion that empathy is the currency of music – that our job as songwriters is to help people come to terms with their feelings by offering them examples of how others may have dealt with a situation similar to that in which listener finds themselves. After what we’ve all been through, the idea of being a shield – physically, emotionally, psychologically – resonated deeply with me.”

It was always my intention to record a new album in 2021. I’d planned to spend most of 2020 on the road, where I could crank out ideas for new songs in soundchecks and maybe even try a few in the live set. Things didn’t quite work out that way, of course. In the past, it has been purely personal issues that have kept me off the road and I’ve sought to come to terms with those events by writing songs that draw the listener’s attention to my individual experience.

The manner in which this pandemic has unfolded is something we’ve never faced before – a universal experience that has impinged on all of our lives. When the first lockdown was declared, I filled the space left by cancelled tours with clips and playlists that made me feel connected to my audience. When hopes of a return to normal were thwarted by the second lockdown in late 2020, I struggled to find the motivation that had driven my response to the first.

Looking for something to focus on, I booked some studio time with Romeo Stodart and Dave Izumi and began pulling songs together for a new album. Twice the dates we booked had to be postponed due to pandemic restrictions, but Romeo and Dave carried on working, creating backing tracks based on the demos I’d sent them. When we were finally able to get together in April this year, they presented me with a different way of making songs, something I found highly engaging after the lost of momentum brought on by the lockdowns.

The Million Things That Never Happened isn’t about the pandemic per se, but the highs and lows of what we’ve been through provide the backdrop for the album, as they have done for all our lives over these past two years.

Billy Bragg 2021

“I read somewhere that the second most googled thing after pornography is ancestry. People want to know where they come from, why they were born, where they were born. You can get facts from the web, but details are priceless and can often only be learned orally from relatives. Yet too many of us rue the fact that we are left to piece together family stories from fragments we recall because we never asked our elders those questions.”

“I like my albums to finish with a stomper. My son Jack helped me out with this one. That’s him playing electric guitar in the video. He’s a pretty good songwriter himself, and when I played him what I had, he said it’s good but it needs some work. I said well you go and do it then. So he came back and he’d added a middle section and, you know what, he was right. I was really pleased. People have asked if there might be a ‘father and son’ album down the tracks. All I will say is you never know what the future might bring. ‘Ten Mysterious Photos…’ is about life online, both good and bad. I try not to get sucked down too many wormholes, but it can happen.”

“To me, I Will Be Your Shield is the heart and soul of the album. I’ve come to the conclusion that empathy is the currency of music – that our job as songwriters is to help people come to terms with their feelings by offering them examples of how others may have dealt with a situation similar to that in which listener finds themselves. After what we’ve all been through, the idea of being a shield – physically, emotionally, psychologically – resonated deeply with me.”

In these challenging times, we all need something to hang on to. Like everyone else, my plans for 2020 have been disrupted by the pandemic, but today I’m announcing an extensive UK & Irish tour for this time next year to give me something tangible to work towards. My hope is that, by then, we’ll be able to get together again and enjoy the uplift that live music brings, to audience and performer alike. Hope to see you next Autumn.

 “After more than three decades of travelling around the world in a van, or spending all day flying vast distances to play a gig, I’m looking forward to having some time to explore cities that I usually only get to see between the soundcheck and the show. And this three night stand format is a way of keeping things interesting, both for me and the audience. I tried it out in Auckland recently and had a lot of fun revisiting my back pages.” Billy Bragg 2019

In each town Bragg will perform three unique shows on consecutive nights.The first night’s performance will feature Bragg’s current set, which ranges across his 35 year career. The second will see Bragg perform songs from his first three albums: his punk rock debut Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs Spy (1983), its similarly raw follow-up Brewing Up with Billy Bragg (1984) and Talking with the Taxman about Poetry (1986). The third performance will see Bragg perform songs from his second three albums: the positively jangled Workers Playtime (1988), the pop classic Don’t Try This at Home (1991) and the back-to-basics William Bloke (1996).

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World Cafe playlists from 1991 were strong on singers and songwriters, including: Uncle Tupelo, @loreena McKennit, @billybragg, @TheBonnieRaitt, Kirsty McColl, @MarcCohn and @tompetty. #WC30 https://www.npr.org/sections/world-cafe/2021/10/14/1045717968/world-cafe-30th-anniversary-playlist-1991-tom-petty-uncle-tupelo-and-more

Read this self-pitying paragraph in the knowledge that Giles Coren does the same job and went to the same university as his father. Not just columnist, but Times columnist.

Tomorrow, the Mail on Sunday - which famously ran the headline 'Labour MUST kill vampire Jezza' - will carry many pages of opinion and analysis on how Britain became the kind of country in which politicians are murdered

Sat Oct 16th, 2021

Billy Bragg
Been busy with promo for the new record for the past few weeks. Lots of good stuff dropping ahead of the album release on 29th October. Here's a cool interview I did with the Vinyl Emergency podcast:https://vinylemergency.libsyn.com/podcast ... See MoreSee Less
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Wed Oct 6th, 2021

Billy Bragg
Mid Century Modern is out now. Stream the track and pre-order the album at https://BBragg.lnk.to/TMTTNHThe Venn diagram of a good Billy Bragg song shows an overlap between the personal and the political and that’s reflected in my concern for ‘The gap between the man I think I am and the man I want to be’. I’m conscious of my position as a white middle-aged man - I’m used to people listening to what I have to say. After all this time, I don’t think it hurts to ask if the behaviour that I manifest lives up to my own standards as the man I want to be.As a mid century modern geezer, I’m aware that my notions of personal relationships were formed almost fifty years ago, likewise my politics. To cling to that and imagine that you’ve nothing to learn from younger generations, you’re in danger of becoming a dinosaur. Kids have got new priorities and new ideas. Thatcher’s dead. The world has moved on. I’m trying to respond to the things I’m hearing now, rather than reminding folk of ‘the good old days’. ... See MoreSee Less
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© Billy Bragg 2019