What started, one year ago, as an innocent social media game, when Facebook friends and fans suggested artists they would like to cover Wesley Stace AKA John Wesley Harding’s songs, became a reality with the Community Coronation Covers Project, a community-curated playlist featuring a myriad of well-respected artists. These have now been gathered on Bandcamp as The Good Lyre: songs of John Wesley Harding. 100% of the proceeds will benefit Sweet Relief.
From the hundreds of suggested artist/song pairings, Stace compiled a list: “Realizing that some of these wild ideas were tantalizingly within my grasp, I wondered whether the musicians in question might be willing to help out, to make someone’s day.”
These are “bespoke covers: requested by a single person, and hand delivered, as it were, to that person,” says Stace. “The object was first to blow the mind of whoever made the suggestion - “You said you wanted to hear Graham Parker sing Devil In Me? Here you go!" - and then to blow the minds of any fans of the performing artists whom they never thought they would hear sing this song or perhaps any other of my songs: handmade custom-built quarantainment.”
“The project started purely as a way to lift spirits at the beginning of the lockdown; a way for musicians to cheer people up. Now we’re bringing it full circle: all the proceeds from this album will benefit Sweet Relief, and specifically musicians affected by the Covid pandemic. It’s a beautiful way to mark the end of the project’s journey. I immediately think of John Prine, Adam Schlesinger, Dave Greenfield, Matthew Seligman, Hal Willner and other friends and/or musicial influences lost to complications from the virus.
“These performances were acts of great generosity and kindness by these artists - it’s not necessarily an easy thing to work up a new song by request - and I’d like to thank everyone who contributed. Now, in a further act of generosity, all musicians gave an enthusiastic YES to all proceeds being donated to Sweet Relief. There but for fortune go all of us."
released April 2, 2021
Covers of the songs of John Wesley Harding by Rosanne Cash, Josh Ritter, Graham Parker, Gary Louris, Tanya Donelly, Wreckless Eric, The Minus 5, Steven Page, Britta Phillips, Ryan Miller, Eric Bazilian, Chris von Sneidern, David Lewis, Bob Pernice, Marti Jones & Don Dixon, Bad Scene, Marshall Crenshaw, Dag Juhlin, Dean Friedman, and Casey Neill
Wesley Stace was born in Hastings in 1965. Since 1988, he has released many albums under the name John Wesley Harding - his
most recent, 2018’s Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding, with the Jayhawks as his backing band. Stace has published four novels, including the international bestseller Misfortune, and recently co-wrote Mark Morris’ memoir Out Loud....more
This is a sensational and career-defining selection of 31 co-writes and collaborations by Tanya Donelly of Belly, Throwing Muses, The Breeders and so forth. This set is sublime and you’ll love it. John Wesley Harding