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The Sound of His Own Voice

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iTunes Review

John Wesley Harding's songs have always had a literary intensity. It’s led him into the publishing world, where he wrote three books under his given name, Wesley Stace. And it’s kept his wit plenty sharp. “There’s a Starbucks (Where the Starbucks Used To Be)” has the biting irony of Randy Newman shoring up pitch-perfect observations about the 21st century. “I Might Be Dead” features ghostly Beach Boys–style backing vocals and buckling Neil Young-esque guitars accompanying a melody worthy of Magical Mystery Tour-era Beatles. “I Should Have Stopped” has the piano lope of the kind of early-'70s pop tune that Ben Folds has chased his entire career. “The World in Song” is a haunting epic that travels through space and time to come up with a tune that unpeels like layers of an onion. “Calling Off the Experiment” checks in with an excited new wave gait. “Gentleman Caller” sounds like Harding’s been listening to his Kinks records.

Customer Reviews

A wonderful songwriter/singer at his cleverest!

All the sweet and savory of a well prepared pop banquet. Wes is one the great songwriters who stresses the writing as much as the song. I don't write. But I do enjoy listening to this album. So many great influences - I seem to go with Muswell Hillbillies (or even Sgt Pepper), but it's a voice and a set of stories that you won't hear any where else. Give it a listen.


Born: October 22, 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 musical influences, pushing the boundaries of the all-too-often formulaic singer/songwriter tag to create...
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