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Billy Bragg to Bring "Ain’t Nobody That Can Sing Like Me" Tour to Australia & New Zealand

Billy Bragg: The Ain't Nobody That Can Sing Like Me Tour

English singer-songwriter and activist Billy Bragg will launch a tour of New Zealand and Australia this October in celebration of the life and legacy of Woody Guthrie, on the 100th anniversary of the folk legend’s birth. The tour follows the Nonesuch release of Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions, this past April, and the first half of each show on the tour will feature songs from that three-volume collection, in which Bragg and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy set Guthrie's words to music. (The title of the tour, the Ain’t Nobody That Can Sing Like Me tour, references the lyric to one such tune, "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key," which includes backing vocals by Natalie Merchant.) The second half of the sets will feature songs from throughout Bragg's almost 30-year career. Bragg will play two nights in Melbourne: the first, at Hamer Hall, celebrating Guthrie, the second, at the Recital Centre, showcasing his own songs.

The New Zealand and Australia shows follow a similarly focused months-long tour of Europe and North America. See below for all of the currently scheduled dates ahead; for additional details and ticket links, go to

When Woody Guthrie died in 1967, at the age of 55, among his stored belongings were thousands of complete song lyrics for which he had not written out music or made recordings. Many of them had been written in the 1940s and ’50s, in the Guthrie family home on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The lyrics remained in boxes for decades, but once his daughter Nora found them in the 1990s, she knew they had to be shared. She approached Bragg to select some to set to music. Wilco came aboard soon after, with Tweedy writing music—along with his late bandmate Jay Bennett on some songs—and the band recording with both Tweedy and Bragg on vocals. Merchant joined the group to sing the duet with Bragg and two solo songs, and guitarist/singer Corey Harris, who wrote two songs and co-wrote one, performed on many tracks. In 1998, the first batch of songs was released to critical acclaim as Mermaid Avenue, receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Mermaid Avenue Vol. II followed in 2000.

"I first met Nora in July 1992, at a concert in Central Park, New York, to commemorate Woody’s 80th birthday," Bragg recalls. "She began sending me lyrics of her father’s unrecorded songs, encouraging me to write new music and make a collaborative album. Her initiative finally bore fruit in 1997, when I got together with Wilco in Chicago and Dublin, where we recorded nearly 50 ‘new’ Woody Guthrie songs."

Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions includes the original Mermaid Avenue; Mermaid Avenue Vol. II (re-mastered); Mermaid Avenue Vol. III, comprising 17 previously unreleased recordings made during the Mermaid Avenue sessions; director Kim Hopkins’ 1999 film Man in the Sand, which documents those sessions; and a 48-page booklet with new liner notes by Nora Guthrie, full lyrics, archival photographs, and facsimiles of lyric sheets and sketches by Woody Guthrie. To pick up a copy, head to the Nonesuch Store now.


Aug 9 Øya Festival Oslo, NORWAY
Aug 10 Way Out West Gothenburg, SWEDEN
Aug 17 Strummer of Love Somerset, UK
Aug 18 Beautiful Days Festival Devon, UK
Aug 19 Summer Sundae Weekend Leicester, UK
Aug 20 ABLE2UK London, UK
Aug 24 Shambala Festival Northamptonshire, UK
Aug 25 Solfest Tarns, UK
Aug 26 Galtres Festival Crayke, UK
Aug 27 Voewood Festival Norfolk, UK
Sep 11 St. Ives September Festival St. Ives, UK
Sep 12 The Park & Dare Theatre Treochy, UK
Sep 14 O2 ABC Glasgow, UK
Sep 16 Queen Elizabeth Hall London, UK
Sep 17 Vicar Street Dublin, IRELAND

Oct 12 Auckland Town Hall Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Oct 13 The Opera House Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
Oct 14 Otago Girls Auditorium Dunedin, NEW ZEALAND
Oct TBD Christchurch earthquake benefit Christchurch, NEW ZEALAND
Oct 19 Hamer Hall Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Oct 20 Melbourne Recital Centre Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Oct 21 Federation Concert Hall Hobart, AUSTRALIA
Oct 23 Canberra Theatre Canberra, AUSTRALIA
Oct 25 QPAC Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
Oct 27 Enmore Theatre Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Oct 31 Town Hall Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
Nov 2 Astor Theatre Perth, AUSTRALIA


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