Tuesday, October 13, 2009

John Wesley Harding ASAP


Friday, November 6, at 7 PM

(click above button to add to your calendar)

Is it fair when one of today's sharpest songwriters may be best known for his cover of Madonna's Like a Prayer from early on in his career? Fair or not, John Wesley Harding knows a good song, whether he's written it or not. His own best-known song, I'm Wrong About Everything, figured prominently on the High Fidelity soundtrack.
The British-born Harding, who took his stage name from another singer/songwriter's song, Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding, combines witty wordplay with memorable melodies. His songs and his sound easily call to mind fellow countryman and expat, Elvis Costello, but Harding's tunes reveal more whimsical, wry and, at times, ribald wordplay than Costello's.

In his first-ever Durham show, and first in the Triangle in seven years, Harding brings his songs to downtown Durham Friday, November 6, at 7 PM, for the next Strings Attached concert. This literate and literary artist performs in the Parish Hall of St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 403 East Main Street (enter on Queen Street). Tickets are $15 in advance ($20 on the day of show), $8 for persons under 12 (under 5 childcare is available on-site). Refreshments (including beer from Triangle Brewing, wine, sodas and water along with sweet and savory snacks) will also be available. All profits from the concert benefit the work of Urban Ministries of Durham. Visit www.stphilipsdurham.org for more information and to purchase advance tickets.

After lending credibility to Madge's Prayer, Harding's Sire Records debut, Here Comes the Groom, inspired LA Times' rock critic Robert Hilburn to decree it, "the first great rock record of the '90s." Along with rock's unplugged trend, Harding emerged as one of the first, great anti-folk artists or, as in his words, "folk noir."

In 1995 Bruce Springsteen's handpicked Harding as his first opening act in two decades. In addition to Springsteen (who duets with Harding on 2000's Wreck on the Highway), Harding's performed with Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Joan Baez and many more songwriting stalwarts along the way.

Now living in the Philadelphia area with his wife and two toddlers, Harding's most recent album, Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, employs the estimable talents of the Minus Five's Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin, along with Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), Kurt Bloch, Kelly Hogan, Robert Lloyd, Earl Slick (David Bowie and John Lennon) and Mike Viola (Candy Butchers). His songs take on the music biz, religion and his new life of letters as a celebrated novelist.

Under his given name, Wesley Stace, he's written two well-received novels so far, 2005's Misfortune and 2007's By George. He's completed another that should be released in the not so distant future.

Living, observing, distilling, writing and performing is what John Wesley Harding does. Now, in a rare opportunity, see what he does in an intimate setting in the heart of Durham. Strings Attached Productions presents John Wesley Harding in concert—for one night and one show only—Friday, November 6, at 7 PM, in the Parish Hall of St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 403 East Main Street in Durham (use Queen Street entrance). All profits benefit Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD).

Visit www.johnwesleyharding.com for more information and materials about John Wesley Harding. Visit www.umdurham.org for more information about Urban Ministries of Durham and visit www.stphilipsdurham.org for more information about St. Philip's Episcopal Church and Strings Attached Productions.


  • Electronic Press Kit: http://www.johnwesleyharding.com/jwh.epk.pdf
  • Bio: http://www.concertedefforts.com/HARDbio2004.pdf
  • Strings Attached Poster: http://snipurl.com/slnps

  • "John Wesley Harding, who named himself after a Bob Dylan song about an outlaw, sounds like Elvis Costello enamored of folk-rock, gruffly revealing his ruefulness and cynicism in stolidly tuneful songs." —Jonathan Pareles, New York Times

  • "Harding's lyrics are typically wry and acerbic, with plenty of narrative twists...God serenades Satan in 'My Favourite Angel.' It's a rich, engaging set that reveals something new with each listen." —Gary Graff, The Hollywood Reporter

  • "Hinting at influence from Elvis Costello and Ray Davies, he shares his cynical observations through catchy, amusing melodies." —NPR's World Café

  • “Of course the lyrics are great....He’s known as a wordsmith. But he writes great pop songs, too, great melodies." Scott McCaughey, The Minus 5

  • Pop Matters: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/article/93998-folk-rocker-and-novelist-john-wesley-harding-brings-his-storytelling-/

  • The Independent UK: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/the-5minute-interview-john-wesley-harding-singersongwriter-and-novelist-768335.html

  • Pandora Video: http://blog.pandora.com/archives/show/2009/06/concert_john_we_1.html

  • Pop Matters: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/72166-john-wesley-harding/

  • FLYPMedia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFeYRjapo7w

  • FLYPMedia: http://www.flypmedia.com/issues/plus/05/#1/1

  • Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2008 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ0FN7g6IyE

  • NPR's World Café (produced by WXPN): http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=102042707

  • NPR's Song of the Day (for Top of the Bottom from Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead):http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101611351

  • NPR's Scott Simon interviews Stace about his "Dickensian romp," Misfortune:

  • Urban Ministries of Durham: http://www.umdurham.org
  • St. Philip's Episcopal Church & Strings Attached: http://www.stphilipsdurham.org

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