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John Wesley Harding's New Deal

John Wesley Harding

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Album Review

Four years passed since John Wesley Harding's previous long-player, and it seems he spent the time "growing up" a bit, shaking once and for all the image of Elvis Costello's smart-ass kid brother. John Wesley Harding's New Deal (the title presumably referring to his parting of ways with Sire and his new signing to Forward Records) finds a gentler Harding doing some soul-searching on his most introspective outing to date. Continuing the trend set by 1992's Why We Fight, the album's warmer production — bare-bones arrangements consisting mainly of acoustic guitar with subtle use of violin, cello, Hammond organ, and pedal steel — creates the appropriate intimate setting for the subject matter. Thankfully, the new John Wesley Harding's songs are still as clever as ever and, in a different way, just as catchy and memorable.

Biography

Born: 22 October 1965 in Hastings, East Sussex, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

John Wesley Harding may take his name from a Bob Dylan album and be a modern-day folksinger, but with the biting, cynical observations in his songs and a sharp sense of humor combined with winning melodies, he shows that his true forefathers are Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe with a hint of Billy Bragg. Far from being a follower or strict revivalist, however, Harding draws on a wide assortment of...
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John Wesley Harding's New Deal, John Wesley Harding
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