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Saturday, 4 May 2013

Billy Bragg - Tooth & Nail

Right now, right at this very second, Billy Bragg has matured into something that I doubt anyone would have expected from him.
From wandering around shopping centres with an amp strapped to his back he has came from virtually buskers roots to national prominence, and in doing so comfortably taken on the mantle of the elder statesman.
When you listen to Tooth and Nail it's not too difficult to see how gradually this has happened though.
He's the aural equivalent of a fine wine.
Lyrically he is fighting fit, and musically he has stretched himself with ease into painting from a broader pallet.
He is without a doubt reached a point in his career where everything is just clicking into place.
If every artist is on a journey then Billy Bragg has reached the borders of a land where the sun is warming his face and everything is fine and dandy.
Not that this has led him to rest on his laurels.
It's not the end of the road, just the crossing point where he can step forth with some confidence and take in his surroundings and relax into where his career has taken him.
The soft lilt of a country twang on the guitar, the Guthrie influence, his socialist roots and punk attitude are all expertly balanced in the mix on this.
If you have been following his career then this could just be the release where the album that you can hear in your head has been birthed.
There's nothing negative that I can say about it.
Nothing constructively critical.
It fits like a new jacket that has been tailored from one that you broke in over many years.

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