Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding

Produced by Gary Louris and Wesley Stace

Side One

1. I Don’t Wanna Rock’n’Roll (4.00)
2. You’re a Song (3.19)
3. Better Tell No One Your Dreams (3.04)
4. How to Fall (3.39)
5. For Me and You (2.34)
6. Hastings Pier (5.06)

Side Two

1. Audience of One (2.25)
2. Don’t Turn Me Loose (2.20)
3. The Wilderness Years (2.46)
4. What You Want Belongs to You (3.29)
5. Remember Me (2.43)
6. Let’s Evaporate (3.53)

Engineered and Mixed by Ed Ackerson

Recorded at Flowers, Minneapolis, MN (2-6 February 2016)
Mixed at Flowers, Minneapolis, MN (April & May 2016)
Vocals Produced and Recorded by Eric Bazilian at Red Door Recording, St Davids PA (April 2016)

Wesley Stace: vocals, acoustic guitar

with The Jayhawks:

Gary Louris: vocals, electric guitar, iPhone
Karen Grotberg: vocals, keyboards
Tim O’Reagan: vocals, drums, percussion
Marc Perlman: bass

with the assistance of:

Eric Bazilian: harmony vocals (Don’t Turn Me Loose & Let’s Evaporate), 6-string bass (How To Fall), organ (Better Tell No One Your Dreams)
Ed Ackerson: Introductory Evaporation
All songs written by Wesley Stace and published by Plangent Visions Music Ltd (PRS), administered by Union Square Music Songs Ltd (PRS)/subpublished in the U.S. by BMG Gold Songs (ASCAP), except Let’s Evaporate by Wesley Stace and Chas Cronk (Plangent Visions Music, Ltd/Sony/ATV Music Publishing), and Don’t Turn Me Loose by Greenfield/Cook (New Dayglow BV)

Design: Sheila Sachs
Front Cover Photography: Shervin Lainez
Back Cover Photography: Abbey Stace
Illustration: Michael Arthur

Thanks to: Sheldon & Paulette Strom, Ed, Ashley and Annika Ackerson, Peter Barnes, Everybody at Yep Roc Records, Mike Leahy and my friends at Concerted Efforts, Jake Guralnick, Mark Morris, Michael Arthur, Everyone at William Morris Endeavor.

Welcome to Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding!

The working title of this album was AKA WEZHAWKS: please feel free to use this nickname. All my thanks to the Jayhawks for their willingness to get on board, their fantastic playing and, most of all, the friendship and good times.

But in the end I went in a different direction for the title, and here’s why.

Firstly: my last album, Self-Titled, was – for various reasons, none worth rehearsing – the first released under my real name, Wesley Stace, but I felt the word didn’t quite get out. So here’s my last word on the matter: Wesley Stace is John Wesley Harding.

Two: I happened to see the new version of ELO, the only version of ELO that matters, the one with Jeff Lynne. For whatever legal reason, this was billed as “Jeff Lynne’s ELO”, presumably partly to differentiate it from any other rogue version of ELO that might be touring. This reminded me that, though I had, in a sense, broken up John Wesley Harding, I didn’t want any interlopers touring under that name, playing my songs and pretending to be me, when I was elsewhere being me too, playing those same songs (better). That would be sorely muddling to everyone, and existentially unsettling. With “Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding”, I am reminding you, as with Jeff Lynne’s ELO, that this version of John Wesley Harding is the only version that counts. If one of my old associates, say Scott McCaughey, Kelly Hogan or Chris von Sneidern, chooses to go out under the name John Wesley Harding, playing my old songs and creaming the resultant profits, I can now respond with my own definitive tour as Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding.

Third: I wanted to differentiate myself, once and for all, from the Bob Dylan album of the same name. I have many times been mistaken (often by cab drivers, hippies, and others with an uncertain grasp of musical history) for this album, due to a certain similarities between the name of this artifact, an LP from 1967 made of vinyl and cardboard, John Wesley Harding, and my erstwhile performing name, John Wesley Harding. Obviously, it’s a ridiculous mistake to make. It is only worth pointing out that Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding was himself a fictional character, only loosely based on John Wesley Hardin, an unpleasant outlaw who died in 1895. This isn’t Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding; it’s Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding.

You are about to begin listening to “Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding”. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world fade around you. Let the Wezhawks in.

With best wishes

The Artist Formally Known as “Wes”

I Don't Wanna Rock 'n' Roll

I'm hanging up my leather jacket
My backstage passes and my laminates
Take my name off of the list
I’ve seen your show, I’ve got the gist

No more purchasing of merchandise
Someone else can do your advertising
Everyday another debut
I’ll find something new to do

Cos I don't wanna rock n roll no more
I don't wanna rock n roll
I don’t wanna rock n roll no more
Cos rock n roll reminds me of you

Gonna burn what I can’t give away
All my memories of Marmalade
Hits are bought and soul’s been sold
A gold disc isn’t made of gold

And I don't wanna rock n roll no more
I don't wanna rock n roll
I don’t wanna rock n roll no more
Cos rock n roll reminds me of you

We used to know the name
Of every band who came through town
We‘d surround ourselves in, drown ourselves in, sound
Now those days are over
You’ve gone underground
And I’m not going downtown

I’m gonna get to bed before it’s light
No tattoo on my right wrist tonight
What I'll dream, well, heaven knows
But it won’t be the one where I can’t go to the show

And I don't wanna rock n roll no more
I don't wanna rock n roll
I don’t wanna rock n roll no more
Cos rock n roll reminds me of you

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

You're a Song

You came without a warning
Your tactic was surprise
Didn’t know that I’d been waiting
Till you looked me in the eye
And finally I realised
I tried to pin you down
Ah! But you were so elusive
And I was such a clown

You’re a song
You’re a song
You’re a song
And someone else is singing you now

We were so impulsive
A little back and forth
Till I could pretend no longer
You were my only thought
And I loved you kinda blindly
You would be my shining star
And you let your bright light guide me
To get me where you were

You’re a song
You’re a song
You’re a song
And someone else is singing you now

Now you have another singer
But every cloud is silver lined
Cos he knows that you are perfect
And he knows that you were mine
And I hope that you’re successful
And it turns out like we said
Some are gone before you notice
Some got stuck inside your head

You’re a song
You’re a song
You’re a song
And someone else is singing you now

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Better Tell No One Your Dreams

The baby fell out of the swing
The three of us just watched her fall
And then when I woke
There wasn't a baby at all

I didn’t want you to meet
Then there we all were in the lift
He knelt at your feet
And gave you a housewarming gift

Better tell no one your dreams
Better tell no one your dreams
Tell them your secrets, yeah, by all means
But better tell, never tell,
Better tell no one your dreams

I wrote the best song in the world
For a musical box and a bird
But when I awoke
I'd forgotten the tune and the words

The flour was flying in the kitchen
Someone said “let's bake some bread”
But I misheard and I thought she said
“Let's break some bed”

Better tell no one your dreams
Better tell no one your dreams
People get bored, when they’re bored they get mean
But better tell, best to tell,
Better tell no one your dreams

I was front row at the show
There was your friend down the aisle
She started to sing
And I knew it was you all the while


I loved you before I first I met you
Adrift in your infinite charms
And when I awoke
You were lying right here in my arms

You said “Better tell no one your dreams
Better tell no one your dreams
They’ll try to tell you what it all means
But better tell, never tell
Better tell no one your dreams”

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

How to Fall

I've forgotten how to talk
How to eat and how to walk
I've forgotten how to lie
And wow my mouth feels dry
I've forgotten it all
But I've remembered how to fall
Remembered how to fall

I've forgotten how to sleep
How to change the sheets
I've forgotten standing still
And I wonder when I will
But that's not all
I've remembered how to fall
Remembered how to fall
In love

I've forgotten my song
And why the night's so long
I've forgotten my friends
And I don't care how it ends
If at all
Cos I've remembered how to fall
I've remembered how to fall
In love with you again
That’s not all
I’ve remembered how to fall
I’ve remembered how to fall in love

And now I see you everyday, every second, every minute
This is love and we are in it - yeah

I've forgotten your face
And I can't get it in place
I've forgotten not to stare
And the truth is I don't care
Until you call
Cos I've remembered how to fall
I've remembered how to fall in love with you again
That's not all
I've remembered how to fall
Remembered how to fall in love

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

For Me and You

I gave you a bad review
I’m sorry that fell to me
It seems to have upset you
Luckily for me, we don’t have to agree
You’re trying to get back at me
But listen I’ll read you the news:
This world is big enough
For me and you

I pray in a different way
It’s clear that you don’t approve
Yesterday, I made up my mind to stay
But hey I’d be happy to move
You can have the last word if you like
While I lace up my shoes
This world is big enough
For me and you

Hey little Fly tormenting me
I’ll open this window; you'll be free
Why should I hurt thee?

I’m sorry I broke your heart
I’m sorry you broke mine too
I thought it was all about me at the start
Like you thought it was all about you
I know just how you feel
Yeah, I was loved once too
And this world is big enough
For me and you

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Hastings Pier

In Hastings, when I was younger
I called bingo numbers
The pier was the place to be
If foreign students you would meet
And we walked underneath
Upon the stony beach
Just near Bottle Alley
Where the land turns into sea
By Hastings Pier

In Hastings, when I was younger
Amusements in the summer
On holiday from boarding school
Busking the Memorial
There I plied my trade
To general disdain
A handful of loose change
To put in the machines
On Hastings Pier

In Hastings, when I was younger
The sea could take you under
I never much swam in there
But I skimmed some stones and I breathed the air
The Who, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd
Syd Barrett's final show
Didn't take that long to get
To want to know the ghosts
Of Hastings Pier

In October, 2010
Someone torched the pier and
I watched it burn like Hallowe'en
Melting my computer screen
And when the smoke cleared
It had almost disappeared
Beaten by the wind and waves
For one hundred years
Hastings Pier

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Audience of One

I've played some pretty empty rooms
Some quiet as the tomb
But I’ve only just begun
Playing to an audience of one

I played some shows where those onstage
Outnumbered those who paid
But I’ve never had more fun
Than playing to an audience of one

And everything I write
I write for her
She understands each word
What they do and do not mean
And all the breaths between
And why I stop singing
When I do

And there've been nights when I have wished
For just ten warm bodies more
Now I don't care if there's none
I'm playing to an audience of one

And everything I sing
I sing for her
With the help of my guitar
She knows where I'm going
And there's no end to the show
I just keep playing for her 
When you've gone home

And I'm trying to amuse her
I didn't even choose her
She chose me
And I offer her my song
Eternally

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Don't Turn Me Loose

From the first day that we shared
I wondered if you really cared

Though you kiss me with a smile
I thought you liked once in a while
Don't turn me loose
Don't turn me loose
You'd better realize before
That my love for you is more
You break my heart and that's for sure

And the longer I know you
The more that I go through
Don't turn me loose
Don't turn me loose

Don't turn me loose
Don't turn me loose
You'd better realize before
That my love for you is more
You break my heart and that's for sure

Now I'm begging you on my knees
Never leave me, darling, please
Don't turn me loose
Don't turn me loose
Don't turn me loose
Don't turn me loose
Don't turn me loose
Don't turn me loose

lyrics by Greenfield & Cook

The Wilderness Years

You threw me out of your Eden
And now I’m on gardening leave
I copped to my crime
But I didn't like your timing
Just days before Christmas, Eve

And now my act is disappearing
But I like it better out here
Less apple, less snake
Much more give and take
Turns out I like to play it by ear

You cast me out in the wilderness, baby
You said it was some kind of test
Wave as I walk through the wilderness, baby
The wilderness years are my best

And I was tired of your lip and your scripture
Done with your salesmanship
You’ve already won
There’s no need to go on
Maybe you’re losing your grip

Now throw what you like at me, mister
Perhaps I am meant to resist
But temptation is free
And my policy is to
Lie back and wait for the kiss

You cast me out in the wilderness, baby
You said it was some kind of test
Wave as I walk through the wilderness, baby
The wilderness years are my best

So thanks for the old golden handshake
I cast off these golden handcuffs
Enough is enough
Of your sad Blind Man’s Bluff
Open your eyes up to Love

You cast me out in the wilderness, baby
You said it was some kind of test
Wave as I walk through the wilderness, baby
The wilderness years are my best

And no one can stay in the Garden of Eden
So get on your bike and
Go far away from the Garden of Eden
Leave Adam and Eve
The apple and even the snake
And get out there alone

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

What You Want Belongs to You

You want the lips you never kissed
The kisses that you never tasted
Arms that haven’t held you yet
And you want back every day you wasted
But it's all already yours
I thought you knew
Every word is true
What you want belongs to you

You want the dreams you never dreamed
All the dreams you never dreamed of dreaming
And you want to sleep until it’s time to meet
And you want to share your secret feeling
But it's all already yours
I share it too
Every word is true
What you want belongs to you
What you want belongs to you

Did you want to die?
Cos you can kill me too
Let’s try to stay alive
Until it’s just me and you

Oh we’re outside space and time
And you’re floating off the earth in ether
And there’s nothing up above you in the blue
And there’s nothing down beneath you either
And it’s all already ours
I’m beside you
Every word is true, and
What you want belongs to you
What you want belongs to you

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Remember Me

I thought there was so much to do
But now it’s said and done
Please remember me
Don't let the kids forget the stories
That we read in bed for fun
Remember me

But while there are still mountains left
And icecaps by the sea
Please remember me
Centuries fly by
What keeps a plane up in the sky
Please remember me

And don't forget my fate
Don’t forget my fate
It's getting late
It’s getting late

I only went to see a show
My girlfriend didn't want to go
Remember me
Paper flakes in Prospect Park
I watched them flutter in the dark
Remember me

And don't forget my fate
Don’t forget my fate
It's getting late
It’s getting late

Like a sudden spark
Struck vainly in the night
And then returns the dark
With no more hope of light, with no more hope of light

But don't forget my fate
Don't forget my fate
It's getting late
It’s getting late

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)

Let's Evaporate

Wet clothes on the laundry line
A couple of hours, they'll be dry
There's no need to wait
Let's evaporate

Glass of vodka overnight
Half gone in the morning light
I give in to fate
Let's evaporate

We are water, you and me
Turning into air
Falling back down to the earth
Who knows where

A thief has robbed the wine-dark sea
All that's left is salt and lees
Before it gets too late
Let's evaporate

We are moisture, you and me
A disappearing act
Climbing in the atmosphere
And falling back
And falling back
And falling back

We are vapor, you and me, we’ve
Cracked the thermostat
We’re climbing in the atmosphere
And falling back
And falling back
And falling back

I've had enough of tough, tough crowds
Let's escape into the clouds
We could hibernate or evaporate
Before it gets too late
Let’s evaporate
I give in to fate
Let’s evaporate
Let’s evaporate
Let’s evaporate
Let’s evaporate

Music and lyrics by Wesley Stace (Plangent Visions Inc., ASCAP)