Punk Goes Acoustic as Dropkick Murphys Gear Up to Release Collaborative Woody Guthrie Album ‘This Machine Still Kills Fascists’
Celtic rockers pay homage to the “original punk” with an unplugged recording featuring lyrics curated by daughter Nora Guthrie.
Massachusetts Celtic punk rockers Dropkick Murphys are known for their memorable blend of traditional folk instrument sounds and powerful vocal choruses set off against a backdrop of raging electric guitars.
But their new album, This Machine Still Kills Fascists – set for release on September 30 via the band’s label Dummy Luck Music – promises something entirely new.
Comprising ten tracks, This Machine Still Kills Fascists brings folk guitar hero Woody Guthrie’s lyrical sentiments from yesteryear into the present day.
Indeed, many of them ring eerily true in today’s world.
Ditching their regular arsenal of electric guitars, the band relied solely on acoustic guitars to energize Guthrie’s timeless lyrics.
According to a press release, not a single guitar amp was used throughout the entire recording.
The seeds of This Machine Still Kills Fascists were sown over a decade ago when Guthrie’s daughter, Nora Guthrie (opens in new tab), began curating a selection of her father’s unpublished lyrics.
“I collected lyrics on all kinds of topics,” she recalled. “Lyrics that seemed to be needed to be said – or screamed – today.
“[Dropkick Murphys founding singer/bassist] Ken Casey is a master at understanding Woody’s lyrics, which can be complicated, long, deadly serious, or totally ridiculous.
“DKM is capable of delivering them all.”
The opportune moment to pursue the project in earnest arose late last year when Dropkick Murphys’ co-lead vocalist Al Barr decided to take time away from the band in order to care for his ailing mother.
Apprehensive about trying to capture the Dropkick Murphys' signature sound without him, the remaining members took the opportunity to focus on recording something entirely different.
“Woody Guthrie, he’s the original punk,” underscores Casey. “He went against the grain, he fought the good fight, he spoke up and sang about his beliefs.
“I’m motivated by reading what he wrote and am inspired by his courage. One man and a guitar – it’s powerful stuff.”
Click here (opens in new tab) to pre-order This Machine Still Kills Fascists.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World (opens in new tab), Guitar Player (opens in new tab) and MusicRadar (opens in new tab) in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.