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Interview:
Billy Bragg likes the threads at Ann Arbor men's shop
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

You can see British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg when he performs this weekend at The Ark in Ann Arbor. But for a more up-close and personal look — maybe more personal than you’d like — Sam’s clothing store on East Liberty Street is a fairly safe bet.

“I’ll be making a beeline to Sam’s for some fine gentleman’s outfits,” Bragg, 52, acknowledges. “I had a rather interesting experience in there last time, which left a substantial dent in my credit card. But I left fully kitted out thanks to the good people at Sam’s so definitely when I come to Ann Arbor that will be a must again.”

Meanwhile, Bragg is preparing to make some new music, his first since 2008’s “Mr. Love & Justice,” and it also has a Michigan connection. Starting in November, he’ll be teaming with Rosanne Cash on an album that will be produced by Rochester Adams High School graduate Joe Henry, who’s also worked with Solomon Burke and Bettye LaVette, among others.

The project began at the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele in Germany, where Bragg and Cash performed on a program curated by Henry. “We had a great time singing together,” Bragg recalls, “and since then we’ve been plotting on trying to get into the studio together.” And Bragg adds that he plans to let Henry steer things when that happens.

“I spend a lot of time on my own records in the driver’s seat,” Bragg notes, “so it will be nice to sit back in (Henry’s) basement with his musicians and Rosanne and sort of chip in and ... riff off what the band are doing and what Joe and Rose want to do.”



Billy Bragg and Darren Hanlon perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are sold out. Call 734-761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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