I am a big fan of Wesley Stace (the artist formerly known as John Wesley Harding) and I have had a few occasions to speak with him over the years after shows at the merch table (captive audience). When he put out his last LP, featuring the “Minneapolian Sound of The Jayhawks,” I was in heaven. My favorite band, The Jayhawks, with one of my songwriting heroes. We had an (possibly imagined) moment after a Squeeze show in Atlanta (he opened) while discussing how we both loved The Jayhawks.
I saw him play a month ago: back when there were concerts! (At Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta – birthplace of Indigo Girls and John Mayer) and we traded a few FB messages (ok, he responded to my messages) about mandolin and songs he chose to play for this particular pre-shutdown show. So basically we are best friends now.
So this week some of his Facebook fans created an “imaginary tribute LP” and posted which artists they wanted and what song they should perform (The Cure should do “Goth Girl,” for example). Many were deceased (Johnny Cash), others were never going to say yes (Billy Joel will never record “My Least Favorite Things”). Some were serious, some were to be clever (Jacob Dylan playing “Making Love To Bob Dylan”).
My suggestion was to have The Jayhawks record “Kiss Me Miss Liberty” from John Wesley Harding’s New Deal (1996?). Wes “liked” it and it became part of the “imaginary” track line up.
Then a funny thing happened, Wes started to reach out to the artists and they started agreeing to record the songs that the “fans” wanted them to play!
Graham Parker started the ball rolling last week with his cover of “The Devil In Me” and I began to construct the Jayhawks arrangement of “Kiss Me Miss Liberty” in my head as a cure for my captivity boredom.
So today I see a message from Wes to me (ok to the group) that Gary Louris (of The Jayhawks) is the next artist to record a Wes song, thanks to Eric Leland (well, after I reminded him that it was my idea).
So I am basically a record executive again! COVID19 dreams do come true!