Billy Bragg has announced via his Twitter feed that Billy Bragg & Wilco will be releasing a set of songs recorded during the 1997 Mermaid Avenue sessions.
According to his blog, the singer/songwriter and Chicago band plan on releasing Mermaid Avenue Vol III in celebration of Woody Guthrie‘s 100th birthday.
In 1997 Billy Bragg got together with Wilco in Chicago and Dublin, where they recorded nearly fifty songs based on Woody Guthrie lyrics provided from the Guthrie estate.
The first collection, Mermaid Avenue – named for the street in Coney Island where Woody lived with his family – was released in 1998. A second collection Mermaid Avenue Volume II was released in 2000. Both albums were nominated for Grammy awards.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s birth, Bragg announced that Nonesuch Records will be releasing Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions, an expansive four disc set, comprising of remastered versions of the two Mermaid Avenue albums as well as a new collection of seventeen songs from the original sessions, Mermaid Avenue Vol III. The fourth disc will contain Man in the Sand, Kim Hopkins’ 1999 film, which documents the sometimes contentious collaboration between Wilco and Bragg.
Billy Bragg’s latest album Mr Love & Justice was released in 2008, while Wilco released The Whole Love in 2011.