Wesley Stace - Late Style

by Kevin Wierzbicki

You may not know the name Wesley Stace but you have likely heard the music he recorded and released for years under the name John Wesley Harding. The name adjustment is not all that is new here; Stace also collaborated with his longtime musical director David Nagler on the songwriting for the first time and the pair have come up with a strong 12-song set. Opener "Where the Bands Are" is a jazzy piano-driven (also Nagler) groove with a decidedly retro bent, sounding modern but also right out of the hipster side of the '60s. Most of the album has a similar vibe; "Everything All the Time" is a mellow samba that sounds like it belongs in a film soundtrack; speaking of which "Hey! Director" moves to a buoyant melody while lyrically equating daily living with a series of movie scenes. "Come Back Yesterday" once again channels '60s pop and mixes in a bit of Elvis Costello. "Do Nothing if You Can" is a sublime tune with similarly sublime advice that recalls something that Donald Fagen might do and album closer "How You All Work Me" is an enlightened treatise on some of the pitfalls that artists, particularly musicians, have to face. A fine collection and one can only hope that Stace and Nagler continue to pair up.

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