Wesley Stace, aka John Wesley Harding, called this week “The Rite of Springsteen,” because he released, over the five weekdays, a new solo cover of a Bruce Springsteen-written song every day. And he didn’t stop there, also sharing videos of him and Springsteen performing “Wreck on the Highway” together in 1994 and 2010, and one of him and Lucy Wainwright Roche duetting on “Hungry Heart” in 2013.
You can watch all eight videos below.
I particularly like his “The Ties That Bind” and “Bobby Jean.” These songs have, honestly, never been among my favorites in their original, rock versions, but seem more poignant when slowed down and sung more tenderly, as Stace does here.
“This has been a fascinating week for me,” Stace wrote today, on Facebook. “I had those two unseen pieces of film (of ‘Wreck on the Highway’) that I really wanted you to see, a bunch of other things too, and I thought I could build a week around it (as you’ve seen, I still think in terms of working weeks) but I hadn’t in any way intended to record a cover version a day (in one unedited take, having fully worked out the arrangements, and tried to memorize any lyrics I didn’t know, beforehand) and that’s kept me on my toes.”
He called the project “karmically related” to his Community Coronation Covers project, in which other artists — including Rosanne Cash, Marshall Crenshaw and Josh Ritter — have been performing his songs. You can catch up with this project, and whatever else he does in the future, at facebook.com/wesley.stace.9 , soundcloud.com/john-wesley-harding or his YouTube channel.
The 2010 “Wreck on the Highway,” by the way, is from a WAMFest (Words and Music Festival) event at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham campus in Madison. It featured Springsteen and poet Robert Pinsky, and was moderated by Stace. For more information about that event, and to see some videos from it that have recently been put on YouTube, click here.
Here are the eight videos:
“THE TIES THAT BIND”
“RACING IN THE STREET”
“I’M ON FIRE”
“WRECK ON THE HIGHWAY” WITH SPRINGSTEEN (1994)
“WRECK ON THE HIGHWAY” WITH SPRINGSTEEN (2010)
“HUNGRY HEART” WITH LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE (2013)
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