A third volume of the Wilco-Billy Bragg collaboration Mermaid Avenue is in the works. Billy Bragg just announced on his website that Nonesuch Records will be putting out a new album featuring 17 previously unreleased songs from the original recording sessions that produced 1998’s Mermaid Avenue and 2000’s Mermaid Avenue Volume II.
The new volume will be part of a package celebrating the centennial of the birth of folk legend Woody Guthrie, whose orphaned lyrics formed the basis of all the Mermaid Avenue material. The four-disc set called Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions will include remastered versions of the first two volumes of Mermaid Avenue, the new one, and Kim Hopkins’ 1999 documentary Man in the Sand, which chronicled the Mermaid Avenue collaboration.
While dates for the set’s release have not yet been announced, Bragg says on his website that he’ll be playing a series of shows focusing on Woody Guthrie’s legacy and the Mermaid Avenue songs.
"I’ll be playing acoustic instruments and singing from the book of lyrics which I compiled from the archives and used during the sessions, quoting from Woody’s handwritten notes that are often tagged onto the manuscripts," Bragg says.