Wilco Reunites With Billy Bragg At Newport Folk Festival


Yesterday at the Newport Folk Festival, speculation was high that Wilco may invite their old friend Billy Bragg out for a sit-in. At the tail end of the show, Bragg joined the veteran band for “California Stars,” a song with lyrics by American folk legend Woody Guthrie put to music by Wilco for their 1998 collaborative record Mermaid Avenue (a record comprised of previously unheard lyrics by Guthrie).

Early in the show, Wilco played “One By One” from Mermaid Avenue and delivered “Christ for President” from the same record in the penultimate slot before inviting up the British singer-songwriter up for “California Stars” to close out their set. NPR’s Bob Boilen offered some insight on the “impromptu unrehearsed” moment:

The fact that Billy Bragg was singing on another stage around the time Wilco was taking another stage at #newportfolkfestival didn’t go unnoticed. It had been too long. But Wilco and Billy Bragg sang Woody Guthrie’s lyrics to their composition and we were all treated to a wonderful impromptu unrehearsed version of ‘California Stars’. Wow.

A special standout moment at a festival known for such treats, ending nearly two decades of estrangement and offering up one of the most memorable moments of Newport 2017.

Wilco performs tonight in Portland, Maine at Thompson’s Point.

[California Stars | Captured by nikdg101]


Wilco at Fort Adams State Park

  • Random Name Generator
  • Via Chicago
  • If I Ever Was a Child
  • Cry All Day
  • One by One  
  • Bull Black Nova
  • Reservations
  • Impossible Germany
  • Misunderstood
  • Someone to Lose
  • I'm Always in Love
  • Heavy Metal Drummer
  • I'm the Man Who Loves You
  • Hummingbird
  • The Late Greats
  • Christ for President  
  • California Stars  

Tour Dates for