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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Hester Lyr Req: Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key (Guthrie (48) RE: Lyr Req: Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key (Guthrie 25 Apr 03

I can't believe that none of you mentioned the contribution of the American roots band Wilco to the Mermaid project. The lyrics were all Guthrie, but the music was composed half by Bragg, half by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco (with some input by Jay Bennet (also of Wilco, at that time). Bennet still performs "No Church Tonight" in concert, I believe.

Bragg didn't feel comfortable, as an English folkie, taking on the task, all alone, of putting music to the lyrics of one of America's most famous folkies, so he invited Wilco to go through the Guthrie archives with him, and give an American perspective. Bragg chose mostly political lyrics, while Tweedy tended to go for the love songs and was more comfortable with Guthrie's overtly Christian lyrics than Bragg.

See the video/DVD "Man in the Sand" for a documentary of the Mermaid sessions, along with a biography of Woody, narrated by his daughter Nora.

I'd say the Mermaid sessions were responsible for drawing me to folk music, as I was more familiar with punk/alternative in my youth.

BTW, Tweedy's music for "Hesitating Beauty" is astounding. I've heard him perform it live twice -- wonderful!

Cheers, Hester

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