By David Kenney
Somewhere Woody Guthrie is smiling. Not only has his legacy endured everywhere from Bob Dylan to Ani DiFranco, but it’s been reborn again. Mermaid Avenue Volume II continues the same inspiring interpretation of the folk legend’s lyrics set to music by Billy Bragg and Wilco.
And this time it’s edgier. Tense vocals and gritty folk guitars augment Guthrie’s political and average man stories.
Love songs "Secret of the Sea" and "Remember the Mountain Bed" show Guthrie’s endearing sweetness via Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy’s deep pop vocals. Billy Bragg’s rants on "Hot Rod Hotel" and "All You Fascists" provide the proper social commentary Guthrie was famous for. One can only wish all covers were this inspiring.