Out Now: Billy Bragg’s Resilient New Album, ‘The Million Things That Never Happened’ (Listen)

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Today, Oct. 29, highly regarded Engish folk/punk stalwart Billy Bragg released his tenth studio album, The Million Things That Never Happened — and it finds him as focused and feisty as ever, the result of having to improvise his album plans after the pandemic threw a pause to how he expected things would turn out.

As he explained to Rock Cellar’s Allison Rapp in a new feature interview, he was confronted with an unexpected amount of downtime and the tough reality of his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis.

He channeled this turmoil into creative expression:

“I did plan to make an album this year, but I expected I’d spend a year on the road, trying songs in sound checks, maybe even in the set, and ease my way into it … nothing was certain, I didn’t know where I was going to be. So I thought, ‘okay, let’s see if I can start making a record.’ I started putting together ideas, writing songs, found a couple of guys who I wanted to work with as producers: Romeo Stodart from The Magic Numbers and Dave Izumi from Echo Zoo Studios in Eastbourne, and I went to see them and it was groovy … I had wanted to work with them because I really liked their arrangements. When you’ve been working as long as I have, particularly as a solo performer and a solo recordist, you have a sort of fear, or I have a fear anyway, of subconsciously repeating myself.”

Click here to pick up The Million Things That Never Happened on CD from our Rock Cellar Store
Click here to pre-order The Million Things That Never Happened on LP from our Rock Cellar Store (out Dec. 10)

As always, Bragg’s new music comes from a place of personal reflection — but also through the lens of the shared human experience. From our feature:

“I was trying to reflect where I’m at at the moment. That’s what I do on every album: I’m writing from ‘this is my perspective, I’m on top of this particular hill and this is what I can see, this is what’s happening to me, this is what the weather is like, this is where I’ve been coming up the hill.’ It just so happens that everybody’s on the same hill.

“As a songwriter, you want people to be able to bring their experience to your song, you want people to be able to find your song as a raft on which to place their emotions. You know, one of the things I’ve realized over the last 10 years is that the currency of music is empathy. What we’re trying to do for the listener is to make them feel as if they’re not alone.”

Stream the album below.

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