#106 – Mermaid Avenue, Volume III by Billy Bragg & Wilco

Our Kevin Bacon game, so far:

The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney produced – and is the husband of – Michelle Branch, who was featured on Santana’s “The Game of Love.”  On a later album, Santana collaborated with Metallica, who backed up Lou Reed, who was in The Velvet Underground with John Cale, who wrote an album with Brian Eno, who produced the first album by DEVO, who were in a film directed by Neil Young, who toured with Sonic Youth, whose guitarist, Thurston Moore, cowrote an album with Nels Cline from Wilco.

Today is going to be the last of the Kevin Bacon game, for now.  It’s fun to find the connections between artists, though not as challenging as I had anticipated.  We’ll revisit this concept at some point, assuming I don’t lose my mind and give up on the blog, but I have great recommendations piling up that I want to explore unencumbered by additional rules.  Obviously, from yesterday’s post you know of my affinity for the Nels Cline era of Wilco, but I had not listened to this album for some reason.  This is a little strange and I can’t account for it, since I was fairly obsessed with Wilco for the early part of the lockdown.  It’s a great album, blending indie rock and jazz sounds with Billy Bragg, who is grounded in the country and bluegrass traditions, all combined with lyrics by the great Woody Guthrie.  As with a lot of country music, it has much more Jesus than I like to have in my life, but I never let ideological differences get between me and good music.  I am also a firm believer in art’s power to help us identify with other viewpoints, and this album is a perfect example of this. 

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