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Love and Justice
June 14, 2013 - Nicholas Terry
I figured for this Friday I’d dig back to something that is actually part of the inspiration of this blog. Billy Bragg is someone who I’ve looked up not just for his musicianship. Joe Strummer is hands down my favorite musician and personal hero of sorts, but Billy Bragg is just as influential to me. His entire life has revolved around politics and improving the way we live. It’s his passion and dedication that makes me question what I’m doing to improve the world around me. He taught me, with only a guitar and words, that when people work together for a cause things can change.
The first song I heard by him was the iconic, “Ideology”. The song itself is a struggle of people who are tired of the corrupt government in England. The song itself is political, but I internalized the struggle. We all reach that point in our lives where we have to decide to reach for our goals, and the reality of the situation we are in. It’s the back and forth of striving what you want to do in life, and maybe not being able to. I think that’s what life really is. Finding that comfortable place where you can be happy. It’s not about having money either. I know people who make much more money than I, and are unhappy with their life.
I’m not one to preach how anyone should live their life. On the contrary, I think one should be to live however they’d like as long as it isn’t harming anyone else. Practice any religion, dress how you want, be free to have any sexual orientation, act how you want, but remember every choice you make has a consequence. As long as you are comfortable in your decision and are willing to the adversity, then do it. There is a lot in this world to be unhappy about, but there’s so much joy to be found.
On to Mr. Love and Justice himself, Billy Bragg. He’s been writing music for 30 years, and just put out another album this year entitled, “Tooth and Nail”. His songwriting is as good as ever. If you’re a fan already, then you’ll like his new album. If you’re not a fan yet, it’s as good as a place as any to start. I’d personally recommend starting with the aforementioned album from 2008, “Mr. Love and Justice”. It’s a good mix of his new and old sound. That and the deluxe edition comes with a solo version of each song, which I believe is where he really shines. Don’t get me wrong, his backing bands have always been wonderful at fleshing out the songs, but it’s an art form the way he strips down a song to it’s roots. He always plays solo with an electric guitar as opposed to acoustic. This is a big difference from a lot of political music. This sets his music apart from his contemporaries. Before I go ranting on anymore, I’ll let the music speak for itself.
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