Bragg teams up with producer Joe Henry here, and his crack band of sympathetic regulars, made up of Jay Bellarose (drums), Greg Leisz (guitars, etc.), David Piltch (bass), and Patrick Warren (keys). This is the same crew that's made discs for talents as diverse as Bonnie Raitt, Loudon Wainwright III, Solomon Burke and Bettye Lavette. They are a stellar crew, and provide Bragg with the best backing he's ever had on disc.Normally, that's a good thing, but in this case, it takes a bit to get used to it. He has always been better know for strapping on an electric and spitting out a solo number, (A New England), or making a bright, poppy piece such as Sexuality or Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards. Even his more recent work with the Blokes was more rough and ready, and collaborations with Wilco on the Woody Guthrie tracks for the Mermaid Avenue project were about feel, not precision. And of course, Bragg's no vocal giant with his very working-class English delivery.
So it's odd to hear the mandolin-acoustic bass-piano-percussion artistry of Your Name On My Tongue, as Bragg struggles to hit the notes. A better singer wouldn't sound so out of place. Similarly, the acoustic strumming on Tomorrow's Going To Be A Better Day is way too precise and classy, and I'd rather hear Bragg's clunky hands knocking out the chords on a complaining electric.