BILL BRAGG & JOE HENRY

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS -

Hear­ing this first as a stream, I won­dered whether the idea of record­ing 13 Amer­i­can roots clas­sics with rail­way as­so­ci­a­tions while travers­ing the US by train might make a bet­ter doc­u­men­tary than CD. But lis­ten­ing to Bragg and Henry’s soul­ful de­liv­ery, of­ten against the dis­tant hum of the rails, it soon be­comes clear there is some­thing spe­cial afoot: two voices, two gui­tars and a sense of mis­sion. Add to that the won­der­ful sleeve book­let packed with info about the songs, con­text and his­tory. “In the cod­i­fied lan­guage of song, we recog­nise our nar­ra­tive and iden­tity anew; find the past alive and still spark­ing the ma­chin­ery of our present day ex­is­tence.” This is a project im­bued with af­fec­tion for the likes of Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly, who orig­i­nally sang these songs. It is also a warm tribute to the lo­co­mo­tive era and that fast dis­ap­pear­ing world. JOE BREEN

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