Iconic British Singer-Songwriter and Activist Billy Bragg Has Released New Album
Photo Credit: Jill Furmanovsky
The Million Things That Never Happened was produced by Romeo Stodart and Dave Izumi at Echo Zoo studio in Eastbourne, England. Billy Bragg wrote the entire album solo, except for “Ten Mysterious Photos That Can’t Be Explained,” which he co-wrote with his son Jack Valero.
“I like my albums to finish with a stomper. My son Jack helped me out with this one. That’s him playing electric guitar in the video. He’s a pretty good songwriter himself, and when I played him what I had, he said it’s good but it needs some work. I said well you go and do it then. So he came back and he’d added a middle section and, you know what, he was right. I was really pleased. People have asked if there might be a ‘father and son’ album down the tracks. All I will say is you never know what the future might bring. ‘Ten Mysterious Photos…’ is about life online, both good and bad. I try not to get sucked down too many wormholes, but it can happen.”
Bragg continues “It was always my intention to record a new album in 2021. I’d planned to spend most of 2020 on the road, where I could crank out ideas for new songs in sound checks and maybe even try a few in the live set. Things didn’t quite work out that way, of course. In the past, it has been purely personal issues that have kept me off the road and I’ve sought to come to terms with those events by writing songs that draw the listener’s attention to my individual experience.
The manner in which this pandemic has unfolded is something we’ve never faced before – a universal experience that has impinged on all of our lives. When the first lockdown was declared, I filled the space left by cancelled tours with clips and playlists that made me feel connected to my audience. When hopes of a return to normal were thwarted by the second lockdown in late 2020, I struggled to find the motivation that had driven my response to the first.
Looking for something to focus on, I booked some studio time with Romeo Stodart and Dave Izumi and began pulling songs together for a new album. Twice the dates we booked had to be postponed due to pandemic restrictions, but Romeo and Dave carried on working, creating backing tracks based on the demos I’d sent them. When we were finally able to get together in April this year, they presented me with a different way of making songs, something I found highly engaging after the lost of momentum brought on by the lockdowns.
The Million Things That Never Happened isn’t about the pandemic per se, but the highs and lows of what we’ve been through provide the backdrop for the album, as they have done for all our lives over these past two years.”