Billy Bragg performs at the Newport Folk Festival.
Billy Bragg performs at the Newport Folk Festival. Wiqan Ang
Armed with an electric guitar and a sharp wit, Billy Bragg is a one-man punk band with a Woody Guthrie-sized heart. Since the mid-'80s, Bragg has tirelessly railed against injustice in his music, while remaining tethered to the intricacies of human interaction. In "Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards" from 1988, Bragg even went so far as to state his credo: "Mixing pop and politics — he asks me what the use is / I'm looking for the Great Leap Forwards."
Bragg's cutting yet humane criticisms of British political and social life have made him a working-class hero in his homeland, but he remains more of a cult figure in America. Bragg opened NPR Music's coverage of Folk Festival 50 at the Fort Stage.
"World Turned Upside Down"
"I Ain't Got No Home"
"Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key"
"My Flying Saucer"
"The Space Race Is Over"
"I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night"
"I Keep Faith"
"There Is Power in a Union"