Field Recordings from the Great American Railroad!
In March 2016, acclaimed singers Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, guitars in hand, boarded a Los Angeles bound train at Chicago's Union Station with the hope of reconnecting with the culture of American railroad travel and the songs it inspired. Winding along 2,728 miles of track, the pair recorded songs while the train paused to pick up passengers.
In waiting rooms and at the track side in St. Louis, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Alpine, El Paso and Tucson, they set up their recording equipment, performing classic railroad songs while keeping one eye on the train, bounding back aboard just before pulling out for the next town. After four days crossing the country, they pulled into Los Angeles at 4:30am, recording their final song in Union Station at dawn, just as the first birds began to sing.
The resulting album Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad takes listeners along on that journey and will be released September 2016 on Cooking Vinyl Records. The album features the perfectly matched voices of Bragg & Henry and captures the varied atmospheres and environments in which they recorded – from the close proximity of soft furnished sleeping cars to cathedral-like ambience of waiting halls built to hold thousands of passengers.
Containing thirteen-songs originally recorded by legendary singers such as Lead Belly, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and more, Shine A Light reveals an often forgotten but integral part of America's musical heritage.