Billy Bragg

The Kent Stage Presents:

Billy Bragg

Joe Purdy

Sun, September 29, 2013

8:00 pm

$19.00 - $24.00

Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg
Singer/songwriter and Wilco collaborator Billy Bragg has just released a new album, "Tooth & Nail" on March 18th. Not including his work on the "Mermaid Avenue" trilogy, the album will be his first in five years. The album was inspired by, of all things, a tweet. After one of his fans referred to Bragg as, "the sherpa of heartache, guiding us all up the hill," Bragg decided to turn his songwriting chops toward the plight of the personal rather than his usual realm of politics.

"Most people, when they hear my name, think of polemical anthems born in struggle," Bragg said in a news release. "I often find myself having to remind people that I am also the Sherpa of Heartbreak, writing songs about the struggle to maintain our relationships with those we love the most."

It's been over a quarter century since Billy Bragg took the stage for his first solo gig at North London Polytechnic. Since then our Billy has traveled the world and spoken to everybody twice. He has recorded hit singles, composed Top Ten albums, penned political anthems sung at rallies, kept alive traditional English folk songs, put his own spin on America's greatest folk catalog and sung his heart out doing so. He has appeared on both MTV and late night highbrow chat shows, singing his mind on the first and speaking his mind on the latter. Building a career which has shaped the face of alternative folk-rock across the globe.

We can't wait to see what he has to bring to us next!
Joe Purdy
Joe Purdy
Celebrated singer/songwriter, Joe Purdy is more aptly described as a troubadour—the term, as archaic as it may seem, refers moreover to the idea of a communicator of folklore through song-- one who travels and tells stories using the effective medium of music. Purdy understands that his own live music tradition, has as much to do with commanding captivated, pin-drop silence as it does prompting roars, (which it most definitely has),because in those hushed moments, a solemn and crystal-clear voice, the resonance of acoustic guitar strings into the reverberant din of a music hall, his stories are being heard. It is a pure experience, untouched and untied to any racket or industry. It's about Joe and his audience.
This direct communication with his fans has, year after year, album after album, translated from the stage to the further dissemination of his folklore. Purdy has chosen to release his albums on his own independent label, Mudtown Crier Records, and with the help of national TV placements and that constant conversation with a strong and evergrowing fan base, he has been able to sell a staggering 1 million direct track downloads in the US on iTunes without ever signing to a label. No bullshit-- just Joe and those people, all over the country (and beyond) perpetually willing to hear his stories.
Case in point, he released his 11th album 4th of July on the 28th of June 2010 at four o'clock in the morning, because that's when he finished it.
Joe's writing process is heavily influenced by his environment. His albums act as a travel guide for his experiences. Last Clock On The Wall (2009) was recorded over 6 days at Old Mill Studios, located in a 17th Century mill converted into a live arts theater in Strathaven, just outside of Glasgow, Scotland. Take My Blanket and Go (2007) was recorded in NYC following a UK tour in 2006, You Can Tell Georgia (2006) was recorded outside of London, immediately following a European tour with Tom McRae, while Paris in the Morning (2006) was recorded during a short visit to Paris a few months later. And, in contrast, Canyon Joe (2007) was recorded at his home in California, after being stranded in New Mexico during a blizzard over New Years Eve.
As for Joe's second to last long player, 4th of July- well, it was recorded, engineered, performed and written by Joe at his home in North West Arkansas. He learned the drums(from a Levon Helm YouTube videos), upright bass, lap steel (and more) during the album's creation.
The post-So Cal, back to roots vibe of 4th of July radically contrasts that of previous efforts. On 4th of July, Purdy's subjects seemingly shuffle along, shoulders slumped, weighed down by ragged trench coats, and problems of a world far less perfect than the one Purdy has previously shown us. "I'm living in Arkansas again, the real world, as they call it, and I'm seeing real people have real problems. People don't buy things- they have to build them. Things break and they have to fix them. People lose their jobs and their families are in real trouble. I've lived through a couple of really hard winters after making that move from California, and this album has a lot of stories about the challenges of it and the great parts of it," Purdy says. "There are just too many stories to be told to be writing love songs all over a record."
Now, proving a perfect cohort for 4th Of July, released only an odd 6 months prior, Purdy prolifically follows with This American- a spanking new full length providing songs rich with imagery, haunting and utterly unique, filled with warm American folklore and real storytelling. Reflections of moving about underscore more of the 'travelogue' motif("Highways," "Oregon Trail"), through plaintive acoustic arrangements perfectly appropriate- with audible count-offs, unedited breaths, whistling, etc… and truly top-shelf lyrics and melodies channeled through Purdy's distinctive yearning voice.
On the first of 2 sold out nights in Lower Manhattan's City Winery venue back in December supporting 4th Of July, Purdy surprised and delighted fans when his manager Brian Klein informed the audience that he had secretly made a record in New Mexico the week before. Not only did Purdy perform This American in its entirety live that evening, but fans were also informed that the brand new 15-song album would be free for the holidays! What they got was classic Joe Purdy. Over 23,000 copies of This American were downloaded in the first 30 days.
Adding to his arsenal, Purdy has been embraced by a broader audience through Prime Time network television. His song "Wash Away (Reprise)," from the Julie Blue album, was chosen by J.J. Abrams for an episode of ABC's smash hit Lost in its first season. Shortly after, Joe's, "I Love the Rain Most" (also off Julie Blue) was featured in an episode of that same network's Grey's Anatomy, which led to "The City (Only Four Seasons)" being included in the show, as well as on the Grey's Anatomy Season I soundtrack which sold over 150,000units. Additionally, Purdy landed five more songs in Grey's… episodes including "San Jose" (Take My Blanket and Go)," "Suitcase" (Only Four Seasons), "Can't Get It Right Today"(You Can Tell Georgia), and "Rainy Day Lament" (Stomping Grounds), which was featured on an episode of the Fox hit, House. "Can't Get It Right Today" was also featured in a new KIA ad that ran nationally. And "Wash Away (Reprise)" was very notably used in a Dawn Soap Wildlife ad, helping raise thousands to rescue wildlife and the gulf spill clean up.As announced last month, come this spring, Joe takes it all on the road for a string of dates throughout the North American continent in support of This American, kicking off in Austin, TX at the famed venue, the Parish on April 23rd and continuing non-stop through West Coast venues (including the Troubadour in LA on April 30th), to May 19thin St Louis, MO at the Off Broadway Nightclub, then a break, only to re-commence on June 8th in Nashville, TN at the Mercy Lounge and through the East Coast and Canadato the end of the month.
Venue Information:
The Kent Stage
175 East Main
Kent, OH, 44240