Folk singer, punk-poet and activist Billy Bragg will appear at the Grammy Museum this Oct. 19 for "Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World with Billy Bragg." The event is in conjunction with the release of Bragg's recent book of the same name. It traces the impact of skiffle on British teenagers back in the Fifties. Bragg also explores how this simple style of music helped paved the way for The Who, Beatles, Pink Floyd and many others, forever changing the face of music.
Skiffle in the British vernacular refers to folk music with blues and jazz roots, that also incorporated improvised instruments, fashioned out of household items such as washboards and tea-chests. The movement’s big break came in 1954, when Lonnie Donegan covered Lead Belly’s "Rock Island Line." The record and Donegan's live performance on black and white television, went on to inspire Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Van Morrison, Ronnie Wood and each one of the Beatles.
Though the movement was short-lived, it led to the rise of guitar-album sales, and encouraged a whole generation to take up the guitar. Bragg who was born in 1957, grew up at a time when skiffle's popularity had waned but it's impact felt everywhere in popular music, and the ensuing youth culture.
Bragg continues to be inspired by American roots songwriters. Last year, he released Shine a Light: Field Recordings from the Great American Railroad, a collaboration with producer and singer Joe Henry. The duo toured together singing songs from the Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly and Hank Williams playbook.
Bragg is currently on tour but if you've already missed the chance to grab tickets for his live show, this Grammy Museum event is another opportunity to see this troubadour in an intimate setting. Tickets go on sale, Thursday, Sept. 14. Get tickets to this event, right here at AXS.