John Wesley Harding, The Minus 5
1039 Washington St.
Hoboken, NJ, 07030
Doors 7:00PM / Show 8:00PM
John Wesley Harding
Wesley Stace was born in Hastings, Sussex in 1965, and educated at The King's School, Canterbury, and Jesus College, Cambridge. Under the name, John Wesley Harding, he has released 15 albums, ranging from traditional folk to full on pop music. His most recent pop release WHO WAS CHANGED AND WHO WAS DEAD (2009), recorded with The Minus Five, was a critical smash, garnering considerable airplay: the album is "terrifically catchy" (NEW YORKER), while Harding is "hyper-aware, expertly tweaking the lyricist's game at every turn" (LOS ANGELES TIMES), with "lyrics that dazzle" (WALL STREET JOURNAL). "Typically wry and acerbic" (BILLBOARD), the songs "reveal a greater maturity and lyrical polish..." making it "the most pleasing album Harding has made since his first studio effort, Here Comes the Groom" (ALL MUSIC GUIDE).
John Wesley Harding has been joined onstage by Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Bruce Springsteen (with whom he recorded a duet on his album AWAKE), Joan Baez, Peter Buck, Evan Dando, David Baddiel, Rick Moody, Tanya Donelly, Josh Ritter, Rosanne Cash, Colin Meloy, Scott MacCaughey and Robyn Hitchcock amongst others. He has appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Late Show with David Letterman, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. His songs have been featured in films (including High Fidelity) and covered by other artists. His most recent record was "Songs of Misfortune", a (mostly) a capella recording by The Love Hall Tryst, featuring the ballads from his first novel, Misfortune. The recently released DVD "A Bloody Show" documents an epic show filmed at Bumbershoot in Seattle, featuring songs from Misfortune, on which JWH is accompanied by a rock band, a string quartet and The Love Hall Tryst, and readings from the novel.
His series of "Cabinet of Wonders" variety shows in Spring 2009 in New York City at Le Poisson Rouge included appearances by Rosanne Cash, Graham Parker, Josh Ritter, Rick Moody, Colson Whitehead and Jonathan Ames. It's "a brilliant evening of laid-back fun" (VILLAGE VOICE) and "one of the most whip-smart variety shows on the market" (PORTLAND TRIBUNE). A further series in the fall of 2009 at the same venue will feature, among others: A.C.Newman, Rhett Miller, Steven Page, Eugene Mirman, David Gates, John Roderick, Jon Auer, Tanya Donelly, Patrick McGrath, Todd Barry, Steve Almond and Stephen Elliott. The shows will also feature his NYC band, The English UK.
His first novel, MISFORTUNE, under his real name Wesley Stace, was published to great acclaim in 2004 by Little, Brown (USA) and Jonathan Cape (UK) - translations followed in Italy, France (where it has become a bestseller), Holland, Taiwan, Japan, Spain and Israel. It was nominated for The Guardian First Book Award, The Commonwealth Writers' Prize, The James Tiptree, Jr. Award, listed as one of the books of the year in The Washington Post and The Boston Phoenix, and was one of Amazon's Top Ten Novels of the Year. MISFORTUNE has been optioned, and the script has been finished.
His second novel, BY GEORGE, was published in August 2007; it was one of the New York Public Library's Books To Remember of 2007, and Booklist Editor's Choice for books of the year. He has recently completed his third , CHARLES JESSOLD, CONSIDERED AS A MURDERER (to be published by Jonathan Cape in the UK in Sept 2010). Stace is currently artist-in-residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University, NJ, where he curates the Words & Music Festival. He reviews for the Times Literary Supplement.
He has lived in America since 1991, and resides in Fort Greene, Brooklyn with his wife Abbey, daughter Tilda and son Wyn.
The Minus 5
As the heartbreaking news of the Young Fresh Fellows plane crash settled in, YFF rhythm guitarist and professional optimist Scott McCaughey realized that every cloud has a silver lining. Finally freed up to concentrate exclusively on the Minus 5, McCaughey began a furious assault on the recording studios of his adopted home town of Portland. Portland is a city in the northwest corner of the United States, though not quite as cornerly as McCaughey's previously adopted hometown, Seattle. Coercing a brigade of local legends to make the music for him, February '09 was booked and finalized. The resulting disc is called Killingsworth.
Killingsworth is an aptly named thoroughfare that borders northeast Portland's "Alberta Arts District", where these songs were primarily conceived and executed. These songs were killed for you. Scott's old buddy John Moen, who has been a Dharma Bum and a Maroon and a Jick, and is now a Decemberist (he is also a human being), wove a noose out of papyrus, and helped lasso his current bandmates and other notables to flesh out the arrangements on a dismal and disturbing array of soon-to-be-classics. The effervescent smokin' drinkin' Little Sue and the four ultra-stylish priestesses once known as the Shee Bee Gees provided welcome feminine counterpoint to the song cycle's wanton depravity (It's not truly a song cycle, nor is it a Richard Strauss tone poem, but the caliber of the material deserves a modicum of pretension). Various members of M. Ward's combo, as well as the very great Norfolk & Western (some of them the same people), played crucial roles in delivering the goods. They were poorly remunerated. Noted novelist and Richmond Fontaine frontispiece Willy Vlautin provided a golden lyrical trampoline, and Timothy Bracy of Mendoza Line fame collaborated on the dance-floor-bound "Dark Hand of Contagion". As ever, Peter Buck put twelve strings or less to optimal use whenever cajoled. Ken Stringfellow sang on a Scandinavian ferry, fully clothed.
Thus begins a new chapter in the Minus 5 saga. Different than the rest, yet barking up the same monkey tree. If you like sunsets on the beach and having sex with a woman, this is the record for you! And if you have any questions or comments about the music itself, Mr. McCaughey would be glad to elucidate all over you, to the best of his ability, which varies according to the situation. I have this information from the source.
Editor in Chief, The Electric Bird Digest
THE Magazine for Amateur Electrobird
P.S. When you hear these songs in live performance, perhaps in August or September, in Kentucky or Lake Arrowhead, you may not recognize them. That's because perfection can never be reproduced or aborted, and if it could, it would be too expensive. When a band resembling The Baseball Project play these songs on tour, they will sound new and much louder. Bring your own pedal steel, the one that lives in your hea
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