Preview: Wesley Stace aka John Wesley Harding heads to the UK for May dates

Born in Hastings in 1965, Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding), took the name of the famous American outlaw, celebrated and misspelt by Bob Dylan, when he began performing in 1988. He adopted the alias while doing a PhD at Cambridge University, so that “when it all went badly wrong, I could go back to what was likely to be my career path, which was in the social and political sciences”.

It all worked out well for him. Signed by Seymour Stein to Sire in 1989, he released a number of albums and EPs of insightful and melodic songs as John Wesley Harding. His debut studio album ‘Here Comes The Groom’ featured amongst others The Attractions’ Bruce and Pete Thomas, Tom Robinson and Kirsty MacColl. In 2013, he finally reverted to his given name with ‘Self Titled’, a nice little collection of bittersweet songs reflecting on past relationships. More recently he recorded a whole album with the The Jayhawks (see the video for 3 minutes of pop perfection ‘Better Tell No One Your Dreams’ below).

On top of his prolific recording, he’s the master of ceremonies of something called Wesley Stace’s Cabinet Of Wonders, his monthly show in New York City. This variety show, the apotheosis of alternative cabaret, brings together musicians, comedians, authors and poets including Steve Earle, Salman Rushdie, Moby, Jonathan Coe, Shirley Collins and Harry Hill. He’s also been joined on stage by Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and John Prine to name just a few. He wrote the libretto for Errollyn Wallen’s opera ‘Dido’s Ghost’, which had its world premiere at the Barbican in London in 2021, and his polymathy doesn’t end there. Stace has written four well-received novels, including the international bestseller Misfortune, and co-written the memoir of choreographer and dancer Mark Morris.

Anyway, if that has whetted your appetite, Stace has announced his first UK tour in 15 years including one here in Liverpool in AUK Towers. Please give me a shout via the contacts page if you’d like to attend – all are welcome, and his live shows are always worth catching: expect an evening not only of great songs, but also a healthy serving of wit and wisdom.

You can get tickets or further details from Wes’s official website here.

Wesley Stace 2024 UK Tour dates:

10-May-24      Canon Frome Community Farm, Herefordshire
11-May-24       Bullet Coffee House, Hastings
12-May-24      Kitchen Garden Café, Birmingham
14-May-24      John Wesley’s New Room, Bristol
17-May-24      Morrell Room, Goring and Streatley, Oxfordshire SOLD OUT
18-May-24      To be confirmed
19-May-24      Wood Festival, Braziers Park, Oxfordshire
20-May-24      Royal Manor Theatre, Portland, Dorset
21-May-24      South Street, Reading
22-May-24      Green Note, Camden, London
23-May-24      House concert, Great Easton, Leicestershire
24-May-24      The Castle Hotel, Manchester
25-May-24      House concert, Liverpool
26-May-24      To be confirmed, Edinburgh
27-May-24      Doublet Glasgow

About Mark Whitfield 2027 Articles
Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (when life was simpler, at least for the first 253 days)
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Harry Scott

I suppose we could say that Hastings is east of London…

Darren Lumbroso

Links to tickets and email contacts for house concerts are here: https://www.wesleystace.com/events