Shine A Light – Album & Tour with Billy Bragg

In March 2016 Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, guitars in hand, boarded a Los Angeles-bound train at Chicago’s Union Station looking to reconnect with the culture of American railroad travel and the music it inspired. Winding along 2,728 miles of track over four days, the pair recorded classic railroad songs in waiting rooms and at trackside while the train paused to pick up passengers.

The resulting album, Shine A Light: Songs From The Great American Railroad, will be released on September 23rd and will be followed by tour dates in the US and UK that will find Joe and Billy playing songs from the journey, along with favorites from their own back catalogue.

Of the project, Joe shares:

“As musicians –songwriters and singers of a particular and folksy persuasion— the creative culture that was allowed and inspired by the railroad remains vivid to us, and important: not as nostalgia, but by way of understand just who we have become and why; how.

In pursuit of such understanding, the two of us followed a very old and seminal rail route: originating in Chicago, The Texas Eagle travels south to San Antonio, where it joins The Sunset Limited out of New Orleans and crawls west to Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.

Along the way –on board, upon platforms and in old station halls— we scrambled to make raw “field recordings” of songs germane to the ubiquitous presence and enduring influence of trains –tunes that date back to early country blues music and to the folk and country songs that ranged out of and alongside it, and extending to a few from our own early lifetimes that reveal the anomalous authority of the railroad to be fading, even as it remains omnipresent.”

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