Billy Bragg and Joe Henry: 2016
Billy Bragg, Darren Devivo and Joe Henry at WFUV (photo by Sarah Burns)
Billy Bragg and Joe Henry have long, acclaimed careers on their own and they've now partnered to create an album that preserves a small part of this country’s rich history, Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad.
Back in March, Bragg and Henry, with guitars in hand, hopped aboard the Texas Eagle train at Chicago’s Union Station looking to reconnect with the culture of American railroad travel and the music it inspired. Bound for Los Angeles, they planned on recording classic railroad songs at each stop along the way. The four day trip covered over 2,700 miles and features songs made famous by Lead Belly, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Doc Watson and Woody Guthrie. It also features covers of songs written by Gordon Lightfoot, John Hartford and Jean Ritchie.
Bragg, the politically-minded British artist and activist, has long combined equal elements of folk and punk with lyrics that swing from political to romantic themes. Henry, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina who eventually made his way to New York City, released his first album thirty years ago. By the late '90s, he was starting to make a name for himself not only as a recording artist, but as an in-demand producer. (Henry produced Bragg's most recent album, 2013’s Tooth & Nail.)
All aboard!! Join me, Billy Bragg and Joe Henry on the Texas Eagle as FUV Live takes to the rails.