Josh Ritter and Gary Louris appear on Wesley Stace covers project

What started as an innocent social media game in which Facebook friends and fans listed artists they would like to cover Wesley Stace AKA John Wesley Harding’s vast catalogue of songs, became a reality with the creation of Community Coronation Covers Project, an ongoing community-curated playlist by a myriad of artists including Josh Ritter, Roseanne Cash, the Minus 5 and The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris.

Culled from hundreds of suggested artist/song pairings, Stace compiled an alphabetical 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 of was first to blow the mind of whoever made the suggestion, 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.”

“These performances are acts of great generosity and kindness by these performers – it’s not necessarily an easy thing to work up a new song by request – and I’d like to thank everyone who humored me in this!” Each individual song comes with a personal note written by Stace about that particular performer.

This autumn will see the wide release of Stace’s John Wesley Harding The Man with No Shadow, which Disney-owned Mammoth Records pulled the plug on just weeks before its release in 2002. Having only been sent to a few hundred journalists, and a handful of radio stations, no other physical copies existed. Over the years, advance CDs fetched untold amounts of money from eager fans in search of Wes’ great “lost” album.

Two songs from that album have found their way to The Community Coronation Covers Project: ‘Sussex Ghost Story’ by Josh Ritter and ‘Negative Love’ by Chris von Sneirdern.

The Community Coronation Covers Project Tracklisting as of today:

1. The Devil in Me – Graham Parker
2. Kiss Me Miss Liberty – Gary Louris
3. Making Love to Bob Dylan – The Minus 5
4. Sussex Ghost Story – Josh Ritter
5. Negative Love – Chris von Sneidern
6. Your Ghost Don’t Scare Me No More – Ryan Miller of Guster
7. I Just Woke Up – Marshall Crenshaw
8. Why Must The Show Go On – Steven Page
9. I’m Wrong With Everything – Roseanne Cash
10. Sick Organism – Wreckless Eric
11. Dreamfader – Martin Jones and Don Dixon
12. Infinite Combinations – David Lewis
13. The World and All Its Problems — Tanya Donnelly
14. To Whom It May Concern – Bob Pernice


>>> Please help to support musicians affected by the coronavirus crisis in the UK by donating £2 a month to us - we'll send you an exclusive 20 track curated playlist every month plus the opportunity to win tickets and CDs. Click here for more information.

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Author: Mark Whitfield

Mark Whitfield has been the Editor of Americana UK for the last 19 years and still feels like this is his pretend job, mainly because it is.

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