John Wesley Harding’s Unique Community Coronation Covers Project Features Rosanne Cash, Marshall Crenshaw, Josh Ritter and More

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Earlier this week, we posted recently unearthed video of Wesley Stace (aka John Wesley Harding) performing with Bruce Springsteen in 2010 at Fairleigh Dickinson University (NJ) discussion.

Stace tweeted us back with information on another project he’s been involved with entitled “Community Coronation Covers,” a 15-song collection of notable artists covering a cross-section of his original songs, available on his Soundcloud and YouTube pages.

It’s a wish list project Stace crowd-sourced during the lockdown, “in splendid isolation in a pleasant spirit of community making a list of other musicians who might possibly cover my songs.” While his top of the list artists may not have been a realistic possibility (“I don’t think I’ll be able to get Van Morrison to do ‘The Facts of Life’ any more easily than I can get Marc Bolan to record ‘Song I Wrote Myself in the Future’”), he quickly pulled together a nice cross-section of top notch talent, including Graham Parker (“The Devil In Me”), Gary Louris of the Jayhawks (“Kiss Me Miss Liberty”), Josh Ritter (“Sussex Ghost Story”), Rosanne Cash (“I’m Wrong About Everything”), Marshall Crenshaw (“I Just Woke Up”) and Wreckless Eric (“Sick Organism”).

Marshall Crenshaw
Gary Louris of the Jayhawks

Stace even provides detailed notes about the song and his relationship to the artist performing his song, and the person requesting the song. Most songs are down and dirty one take versions recorded on an iPhone.

“These, therefore, are bespoke covers: requested by a single person, and hand delivered, as it were, to that person,” he wrote. “The object is first to blow the mind of that one person who made that particular suggestion, and then to blow the minds of any fans of the performing artists whom they never thought they’d hear singing this song or perhaps any other of my songs. (The initial lists have disappeared – user error I’m sure – so I don’t know quite who suggested what, but please feel free to make yourselves known.)”

“These performances are acts of great generosity and kindness by these performers – it’s not necessarily an easy to thing to work up a new song by request – and I’d like to say thank you to everyone who humored me in this! (And in some cases, as you’ll see, there was a little Kismet involved.)”

In addition to the “Community Coronation Covers” project, Harding Stace has flipped the idea around onto himself and started posting his own daily “The Rite of Springsteen” covers, including “I’m On Fire,” “Brilliant Disguise” and “Racing In The Streets.”

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