John Wesley Harding (singer)
Wesley Stace (born
22 October 1965) is a folk/pop singer-songwriter who often goes by the stage name John Wesley Harding and who has called his style of music "folk noir" and "gangsta folk".
He was born in
Hastings, East Sussex, England. His given name, Wesley, comes from John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, who preached one of his last sermons in the town where Harding was born.
His stage name is the same as the
Bob Dylanalbum (and song) "John Wesley Harding". The American gunfighting historical figure John Wesley Hardinwas largely forgotten by 1965, when Johnny Cashwrote and recorded the song, "Hardin Wouldn't Run".
His education included the boarding schools St. Andrews School (
Pangbourne, Berkshire); Milbourne Lodge ( Claygate, Surrey); The King's School ( Canterbury, Kent); and university at Jesus College, Cambridge. He left Cambridge with a First in English Literature, but left before completing his Ph.D. in Social and Political Science. Since 1991, Harding has lived in the United States, most recently in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. His sister,cite web |url= http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/18/DD3SRKMT8.DTL |title= Review: Melanie Stace is well worth getting to know better |author= Joel Selvin|work= San Francisco Chronicle|date= 18 August 2007] Melanie Stace, well known in Britain, is also a successful performing artist.
Influences on him include
Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Davies, and Phil Ochs. He has been frequently compared to Elvis Costelloprobably fueled, in part, by the fact that two members of his early band The Good Liars (Pete and Bruce Thomas) had been members of The Attractions. Harding was chosen by Bruce Springsteen as his first opening act in 20 years for his solo shows at the Berkeley Community Theatre in 1995. Harding most often plays solo, or as a duo, but has also done concerts with various backing bands: The Good Liars, The Family Values, and, most recently, The Radical Gentlemen. His best-known work may be "I'm Wrong About Everything", which was included on the soundtrack for "High Fidelity". His cover of the Madonna song, "Like a Prayer" is also widely known.
In 2005, he published his first novel, the critically acclaimed "Misfortune", under his real name (Wesley Stace). It was nominated for the
Guardian First Book Award, and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prizeand the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. "Misfortune" was also chosen by Amazon as one of the Ten Best Novels of 2005, and was one of The Washington Post's Books of the Year. "Misfortune," translated as "L'infortunée", became a bestseller in France, and has also been translated in Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, Chinese, and Japanese. His 2005 album "Songs of Misfortune" comprises songs written for, or appearing in, that book, and was one of Amazon's Top Ten Folk records of the year.
Other writings include
chapbooksfor some of his albums, and essays for various music publications from Creemto Raygun. His essay, "Listerine: The Life and Opinions of Laurence Sterne," published in Post Road #5, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His second novel, "By George", was released on August 22, 2007, but it was widely considered to be cacophonously bad.
* "It Happened One Night" (live)
* "God Made Me Do It: The Christmas EP"
* "Here Comes the Groom"
The Name Above the Title"
* "Why We Fight"
* "Pett Levels: The Summer EP"
* "John Wesley Harding's New Deal"
* "Dynablob" (studio outtakes, fan club release, later commercially released)
* "Dynablob 2" (live recordings, fan club release, later commercially released)
* "Trad Arr Jones" (a tribute to
* "The Confessions of St. Ace"
* "Dynablob 3: 26th March 1999" (live, fan club release)
* "The Man With No Shadow" (unreleased, later issued as "Adam's Apple" with slightly different tracks)
* "Dynablob 4: Swings & Roundabouts] " (studio, new material, fan club release)
* "Garden of Eden: The Fall EP] " (EP)
* "Adam's Apple"
* "Songs of Misfortune" (with the
Love Hall Tryst)
* "Song of America" (2007) - "God Save the King"
*"Misfortune" (2005) ISBN 0316830348.
*"By George" (2007) ISBN 0316830321.
* [http://www.wesweb.net Old official site] - low bandwidth
* [http://www.johnwesleyharding.com New official site] - high bandwidth
* [http://www.wesleystace.com/ Wesley Stace official site] - for writing
* [http://beingtheremag.com/feature.php?issue=23&id=329 A feature article on John Wesley Harding]
* [http://www.musicbox-online.com/jwh.html John Wesley Harding Reviews]
* [http://www.shuttleworths.co.uk/sirhenry/noise.html A Cosy Promotional Chat] with
* [http://www.honesttune.com/content/view/635/28/ Review of a "Bloody Show" from honesttune.com.]
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