UK folk favourite Billy Bragg and American artist Joe Henry have announced that they will be releasing a new collaborative album. The disc is titled Shine A Light – Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad and is set to drop on Cooking Vinyl September 23, 2016. The project is a collection of railway-themed classic songs recorded in the course of a 65 hour journey across the US on the Texas Eagle railroad service. Bragg comments:
“Railroad songs provided the bedrock of American popular music, from Jimmie Rodgers, the Singing Brakeman, to Lead Belly, whose repertoire provided several of the songs for this project. In this country, Lonnie Donegan’s 1956 hit ‘Rock Island Line’ sparked the skiffle craze, inspiring a generation of British teens to pick up guitars and form the groups that invaded American in the 60s, from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin.
Growing up in the UK, I’d always been aware of this tradition but when I travelled to the US, I was surprised to find how few people look to the railroad as a means of transport. With this project, we wanted to explore the transformative power that the coming of the railroad had on the lives of ordinary people by taking these songs back to the places that inspired their creation. Travelling on the train and recording the songs as we went allowed us to both visit places that were important 125 years ago when the lines were laid, but to also explore the viability of the railroad as a means of transport in the 21st century.”
Joe’s comments can be found below along with tour dates.