Remember when folk hero Billy Bragg and pop legend Taylor Swift became mates at the NME Awards 2020 while crowning Glastonbury boss Emily Eavis as Godlike Genius? That was pretty cool, eh? It did leave us hoping and expecting some kind of collab at Worthy Farm at would would have been Glasto this weekend. Sadly, the pandemic had other plans. Still, that won’t stop us celebrating. To mark 50 years of Glastonbury, we asked Billy Bragg to record a special set for NME, along with a cover of his new pal Swift for good measure.
“Meeting Taylor Swift at the NME Awards earlier this year confirmed something that I’ve been thinking for a long time,” Bragg tells NME. “Namely, that she is a kindred spirit; in the sense that, like me, she’s trying to use her platform to say something more than ‘I’m great, you’re shit, do you like my socks?’ – to paraphrase Oasis.
“Her response to Donald Trump’s dismissive comments about Black Lives Matter only seemed to underscore that idea. She accused him of white supremacy, and warned him that ‘we will vote you out in November’. Now that just seems to make her a candidate for coming down to the LeftField at Glastonbury Festival when she did her spot and maybe joining in one of the debates or maybe getting up and singing a song. Alas, that’s not to be – at least not this year.
“But just in case she comes along another year, I’ve rehearsed something that we might be able to sing together…”
Watch above as Bragg delivers an exclusive performance of Swift’s political anthem ‘Only The Young’, along with his own classics ‘Levi’s Stubbs’ Tears’, ‘Sexuality’ and ‘The Great Leap Forward’ from the comfort of his own home. It’s not quite Glasto, but it’ll keep us going until next year.
Check back at NME this weekend for more of our interview with Bragg.
For more NME Home Sessions, check out Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil performing exclusively for us here, Blossoms delivering some classics along with an Elvis Costello cover here, a backyard performance from rising alt-folk star Taylor Janzen here, and Aussie singer-songwriter G-Flip here.
Check back at NME soon for more Home Sessions from music’s most influential artists, including big names and rising stars.