Billy Bragg And Wilco To Release Second Album Of Guthrie Songs

Already one of the most critically-lauded albums of the year, Billy Bragg and Wilco have confirmed plans for a follow-up to "Mermaid Avenue," the album of previously unreleased Woody Guthrie songs to which Bragg and Wilco wrote new music for.

The second Bragg/Wilco album will feature material originally recorded during the "Avenue" sessions held in Chicago and Dublin, Ireland. As Bragg told MTV News, the possibility for a subsequent Guthrie album factored into how songs were selected and recorded for the initial album.

"Wilco and myself had such a great time working on the project that we actually recorded 40 tracks," Bragg said, "and eventually we had to be pulled off the material, or else we'd still be working on the 'Mermaid Avenue.'"

"I suppose we thought in our minds that if this material is as good and strong as we think it is," he continued, "then the reaction will be such that

there will be some call for a second album. Had we not thought of that in our minds as we were making the list of 15 [tracks included on 'Mermaid Avenue'], we would never have been able to get down to that 15."

"For instance, 'My Flying Saucer' [was one of the tracks] that didn't make it onto the album," Bragg said, "but that wasn't because it wasn't good enough. It was just because we wanted some good tracks to be on the second album as well. The second album will have by no means second-rate songs. There's stuff just as powerful as what's on the first album." [28.8 RealVideo]

Both Bragg and Wilco plan to issue their own new albums prior to the release of their collaborative sequel to "Mermaid Avenue," which a spokesperson for Elektra said was tentatively planned for spring 1999.