Essential Pittsburgh
2:23 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Punk Rock Humanitarian Billy Bragg Returns to Pittsburgh

Credit Kris Krug / Wikipedia

Punk rocker and humanitarian protest lyricist Billy Bragg returns to Pittsburgh after sixteen years.

His influences derive from 1960’s Motown music and the civil rights movement to the arrival of punk rock in Britain.

Following the 1984 United Kingdom miner strike, Bragg began writing and performing protest songs expressing the discord in ideologies between working citizens and upper class public officials. He returned to Pittsburgh to play at Mr. Smalls theater on October 1.

Bragg says many of the songs on his newest album, Tooth & Nail, reflect his sentiments toward the loss of his mother as well as political turmoil in countries gripped with uncertainty. He composes rock tunes and artful ballads that tackle such issues as immigration, race and class disparity.

“When it comes down to communities and individuals and what you’ll stand for and what you’ll fight for, I think in the end it’s about where you are that becomes more important than where you’re from and where your parents or your grandparents are from. That’s the sort of society I prefer to live in.”