Billy Bragg and Wilco
Thirty-one years after Woody Guthrie's death, rabble-rousing English folk poet Billy Bragg and American roots rockers Wilco collaborated to make some of his previously unpublished lyrics come alive. What they proved is that from the bawdy album opener “Walt Whitman's Niece,” to irreverent, raucous rockers like“Christ for President”, Guthrie wrote with far more conviction, insight and candor than most modern-day songwriters could even imagine. The songs cover a musical spectrum as wide and wild as the upbeat pop flavors of the harmonica-tinged “She Came Along to Me,” the '50s-styled rock and roll of “Hoodoo Voodoo” and the gentle mandolin and violin textures of “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key”. Too many tribute albums are well intended but ultimately disappointing. This one succeeds at every level.