It’s Monday, I’m at the office and I’m not excited about it. I mean, really, who would be? So to avoid swallowing the business end of a .45 pistol (or, in a pinch a Bostitch office stapler – hey, you make do with the tools you have) I’m listening to the live YouTube performance of Billy Bragg at the KEXP studio.
Seattle’s KEXP has graciously posted video footage of sets by bands that played live on the air (from the local bike shop no less) for the radio station during the South By Southwest music festival back in 2013. Bragg has ben a regular supporter and performer with KEXP over the years. This is simply the latest, a six-song, 33-minute performance by Bragg, who treated fans to four songs off his just released album ‘Tooth & Nail’, plus 1991 modern-rock hit ‘Sexuality‘ (a truly amazing performance), ‘Greeting From the New Brunette‘ from the stellar ‘Talking With the Taxman About Poetry‘ album (click HERE) and ‘Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards‘ (another highlight), the closing track off 1988’s ‘Workers Playtime’. There is also a terrific cover of Woody Guthrie‘s ‘I Ain’t Got No Home In This World Anymore‘. The best however is ‘Handyman Blues‘ which, truthfully (and I doubt Kelly would disagree), could be my own personal theme song.
Best of all though, similar to Townes Van Zandt and, say, Jeff Tweedy, the between song banter Bragg waffles off is just as poignant and entertaining as the songs themselves. To me, this is the mark of a true songsmith. His musings on bikes and beards particularly is highly recommended.