Billy Bragg's long-awaited new album, "Tooth & Nail," isn't due out until March 19, but Billboard premieres a full audio stream today (March 13).
"Anyone familiar with my work will know that I write songs of struggle. In this album, the focus is on the struggle to maintain a relationship with those that we love the most," the oft-political Bragg says of the more inter-personal focus of "Tooth & Nail."
The 12-track album, which will be released on Cooking Vinyl, is the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter's follow up to 2008's "Mr. Love And Justice." But Bragg himself has noted that the new record stylistically follows from the 1998 and 2000 "Mermaid Avenue" albums, his collaboration with Wilco featuring Woody Guthrie lyrics.
The sense of musical spontaneity audible on "Tooth & Nail" derives at least in part from the fact that producer (and noted singer/songwriter) Joe Henry captured Bragg and the four-piece band -- which includes pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz, keyboardist Patrick Warren, drummer Jay Bellerose and bassist David Piltch -- performing the songs live in the studio over the course of only five days.
Bragg will be translating the live-to-tape sound of the "Tooth & Nail" songs live to audiences with an extensive tour of North America and his native U.K. that begins tonight in Austin, Texas at SXSW and runs through August before picking back up in England in November.
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