A man of informed opinions, notable compassion and truly remarkable talent, who has inspired each and every one of us over the years, the Folk by the Oak Team were proud to welcome the legend that is Billy Bragg to our Main Stage in 2018.
With the release of his punk-charged debut Life’s A Riot With Spy Vs Spy over 30 years ago, Billy Bragg rose in his own words, "from obscurity to semi-obscurity’" famously with a little help from John Peel and, legend has it, a well-timed bribe of a mushroom biryani. Now recognised as Britain’s foremost political singer-songwriter and with a global following to match, Billy recently returned from a journey through America and Americana with Joe Henry resulting in the critically acclaimed Shine A Light.
The intervening 3 decades have been peppered with albums such as the pop classic Don’t Try This At Home, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee-timed Treatise on national identity England, Half-English and his stripped down Tooth & Nail. Through these works he has tackled pretty much every political, social and cultural debate of the 80s, 90s and beyond. Along the way he’s had a number one hit single, had a street named after him, been the subject of a South Bank Show and curated Left Field at Glastonbury, but for all that glory it’s obvious that he is still driven by what he himself christened "socialism of the heart".
Recent political turmoil has roused Billy to produce a string of singles, this time addressing Trump (Why we Build the Wall) and issues closer to home with his incisive yet gently nuanced response to Brexit (Full English Brexit).
At Folk by the Oak 2018, Billy was accompanied on stage by band member C.J. Hillman, the Americana Music Association UK pick for Instrumentalist of the Year 2017, playing dobro, pedal steel and electric guitar.
the perfect Venn diagram between the political and the personal.- The Guardian -