Thursday, October 18, 2007

Billy Bragg: Punk, To Politics, To Personal

While Activism Influences His Work, Billy Bragg Has Built A Diverse Musical Career

By ERIC R. DANTON, Courant Rock Critic, October 18, 2007

BillyBragg remembers the first (and only) time he performed in Hartford, in large part because it was the first time he had performed in America outside New York City.

It was 1984, and the raw, young British folk-punk singer opened for Echo & the Bunnymen at the Agora Ballroom in West Hartford, a show Bragg recalls as "more car-park than gig."

"I'd been in America for about two weeks, and I'd only been in New York, and I was getting to the point where I was thinking, 'Oh, my God, if all of America is like this, I don't know if I can take it,' " Bragg says with a chuckle by phone from England in advance of a short U.S. solo tour that stops tonight in Northampton. "I came to Hartford and thought, 'Thank God. It does pause for breath, if only briefly.' It was sweet relief coming to Hartford, which may sound strange to your readers."

Maybe, but probably not as strange as this: Bragg, an ardent champion of the working class and various left-wing causes, counts Margaret Thatcher among his chief influences.

The rest at:,0,2104473.story

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