Throwback Thursday: Retro Track of the Week

braggwilco100512wSong: Hesitating Beauty
Artist: Billy Bragg & Wilco
Year: 1998

After witnessing Billy Bragg perform at a Woody Guthrie tribute concert in New York’s Central Park in 1992, Guthrie’s daughter Nora approached the singer-songwriter come activist with an interesting proposition: With access to a vast treasure trove of unreleased lyrics left behind by her folk legend father, Bragg was asked if he would like to compose new music to accompany them on an album of original songs. Bragg in turn recruited Chicago alt-country rockers Wilco to help with the project and the wisdom of this decision was clearly evident in 1998’s excellent Mermaid Avenue.

Praised across the board, Mermaid Avenue received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album and placed fourth in the Pazz and Jop Critics Poll for 1998; Nora Guthrie no doubt felt vindicated by such acclaim particularly after Guthrie disciple Bob Dylan was left disappointed when missing out on accessing the unreleased lyrics himself.

Sung by Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, ‘Hesitating Beauty’ is one of Mermaid Avenue’s standout tracks. Containing some of Guthrie’s most romantic lyrics (“We can ramble hand in hand across the grasses of our land/I’ll kiss you for each leaf on every tree”) the song’s sentimentality is nicely balanced by the jauntiness of Bragg and Wilco’s country-inflected, folk treatment.

Scott Hammond

Review: Spiderman - Homecoming

Read more

Review: Forever Pure

Read more

Preview: Cinema Rediscovered Festival at The Watershed

Read more

Review: Liberation Day (out on iTunes 17th July)

Read more

Review: Baby Driver

Read more

Review: A pre-Glasto treat from Lisa Hannigan at Marble Factory

Read more

Review: The return of Manic Street Preachers at Bristol Sounds

Read more

Review: Bonobo's blistering show to open Bristol Sounds

Read more

Review: Bristol Comedy Garden's third night shows this year could be it's best

Read more

Review: Bristol Comedy Garden continues with impressive second night

Read more

Review: A superb opening of Bristol Comedy Garden

Read more

Review: Alien: Covenant

Read more

Preview: Bristol Comedy Garden 2017

Read more

Photo Gallery: Love Saves the Day 2017

Read more

Review: Wonder Woman

Read more

Review: Yet another live music bonanza for Dot To Dot '17

Read more

Review: Ron Sexsmith's songwriting showcase warmly received at St. George's

Read more

Dot To Dot 2017 Preview: Our Top 5 Festival Picks

Read more

Gallery: Declan McKenna at Thekla

Read more

Review: Declan McKenna - a youthful artist-audience love in at Thekla

Read more