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British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg once ate ashes from labor martyr Joe Hill’s cremated body, but now he’s connected to a more famous corpse: Margaret Thatcher. The former British prime minister’s death earlier this month means an end to her decades-long run as Bragg’s anti-muse; her neocon politics loomed over even his love songs. Bragg’s such an old-school lefty that he once tried to update socialist anthem “The Internationale” for the ’90s—because really, who hasn’t gotten that ditty stuck in their head? For a while, when he went acoustic and recorded Woody Guthrie tracks with Wilco, it looked like Bragg might have mellowed out, but it turns out there’s still a lot in the 21st century for Bragg to rage against: free trade, resurgent English nationalism, growing older, the crumbling European Union. Unlike Joe Hill’s cadaver, those are things all worth feasting on.
Billy Bragg performs with Kim Churchill at 7:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $49.50. 703-549-7500. birchmere.com.