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Formerly known by his stage name John Wesley Harding, under which he performed and recorded for the past 25 years, Wesley Stace chose to step out from behind his well-established pseudonym for the album Self-Titledin honor of the increasingly personal nature of his new material. Since his critically acclaimed 1988 debut It Happened One Night, Wesley has recorded 19 records for both major (Sire, Hollywood) and independent (Mammoth, Rhino, Appleseed, Yep Roc) labels alike.
“Novels seem to take care of the intellectual business for me these days, and my songs have become a lot more intimate and autobiographical, requiring a different musical treatment entirely. It seemed ridiculous to sing them under any name but my own,” notes Stace, adding, “It’s time to bring everything under one roof.” Stace co-wrote two of the tracks from Self-Titled—“Stare at the Sun” and “When I Knew”— with the Fiery Furnaces’ Eleanor Friedberger. Both songs appear in alternate versions on Friedberger’s critically acclaimed new albumPersonal Record, which was entirely co-written by Stace.
Of Personal Record, SPIN noted the pair’s “easy collaboration” while NPR weighed in that Stace “knows a little something about smart love songs of every stripe.”