Monday, March 30, 2009

John Wesley Harding: New Album, Variety Tour - Independent On Sunday

Here at HAD we were first exposed to John Wesley Harding on the soundtrack to High Fidelity. "I'm Wrong About Everything" is a self-effacing tune that was perfect for the film's insecure protagonist. That was around 2000, and we didn't catch up with JWH again until the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in 2003. There Harding delivered a killer acoustic set that was just about as much of a classic singer-songwriter/troubadour effort as one could hope to muster. Over the past twenty years, Harding has shown himself to consistently fill those shoes. With witty lyrics, solid melodies, and a penchant for straightforward songwriting, Harding consistently represents for a breed of songsmith that is equal parts storyteller and songwriter.

Thankfully, none of that has changed on Harding's most recent release, Who was Changed And Who Was Dead. On the record (Harding's first in five years), Harding is joined by the notorious Minus 5, and delivers a set of thirteen songs that explore the ins and outs of his life since the last record. This includes the birth of a son, a shot at (and subsequent withdrawl from) "the bigtime", and of course Harding's requisite commentary on relationships. All in all, the work is a dead-solid effort, and reenforces the region that Harding has established for himself between the worlds of folk and rock, with all his various personas in attendance.

If this photo is any indication of how
awesome Wes and Eugene's Cabinet Of Wonders is,
then do you really need any other reason?

To promote the record, Harding has taken an interesting direction. Along with comic Eugene Mirman, Harding has developed something of a traveling variety show, dubbed "Wes & Eugene's Cabinet Of Wonders". The show has been traveling the US, and is by all accounts a legitimate variety-style presentation. Each night features a host of different "acts", sometimes musicians, sometimes authors, along with Harding and Mirman presenting an off-the-cuff set of skits, songs, and general merriment. In short, if you're one that enjoys your words as much as you enjoy your songs, and has a general penchant for enjoying a good stage show, then this gig is just your bag.

In touring the US, we're psyched to see that Harding and Mirman decided to stop by San Francisco. This coming Sunday, April 5th, "Wes and Eugene's Cabinet of Wonders" will stop by the Independent. While there's no telling exactly will get delivered, we're guessing it'll be a pretty damn good time. And you really don't want to deny yourself a good time, now do you? We didn't think so.

Tickets are on-sale now.