John Wesley Harding | Cabinet of Wonders @ LPR Tonight, New Record Out Now w/ Optional Personal Concert

John Wesley Harding – Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead
John Wesley Harding - Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead

Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, the new album by John Wesley Harding (aka Wesley Stace) and backed by The Minus Five (featuring Scott McCaughey and Peter Buck of REM), came out physically and digitally on Tuesday (March 10). Changed is Harding’s first rock album since 2004’s Adam’s Apple and it also features collaborations with Mike Viola (Candy Butchers), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) and Kelly Hogan (Neko Case). The “basic version” of the new record, includes a live bonus CD, recorded at Brooklyn’s Union Hall on October 27, 2008 with guest duettist Josh Ritter among others. The “crazy deluxe and personal version” of the new album costs $5,000.00 and includes a download, plus CD with bonus live disc, T-Shirt, DVD and signed framed artwork plus a personal concert at your house. (Other less deluxe versions of the album are listed over in this Boing Boing post.)

Gothamist recently asked John about the much ballyhooed deluxe package:

Has anyone opted for the $5,000 deluxe package of your cd, which comes with a personal show?
Yes. And you can all come. Although I’m delighted that it did, I have no great idea why this made the news. People have been doing this stuff for ages, and it didn’t seem terribly revolutionary or even newsworthy, just a good way to raise a little capital so I could self-release my new album and not be at a financial disadvantage. But ever since Boing Boing posted it on their blog, I’ve read the most incredible amount of (and weirdest reactions to) this simple thing: ranging from sweet, grateful, concerned, humorless to indignant. It was actually quite an education in how the web works. But in answer to your question: in the past people booked musicians for private parties (weddings etc); that never really made the news. In more recent times, these house concerts have developed (I’ve done a few, not many, and mostly for my friend Drew out in New Jersey); and so I thought it would be a good idea to advertise that I would do one in case it piqued someone’s interest, who might not otherwise have thought of it. And it has. But, I mean, big whoop, news-wise. []

On a personal note here, I think John/Wes is being a little disingenuous when he says, “I have no great idea why this made the news”. Well, I for one, received at least one press release about his pricing scheme, so I don’t think he should have been so surprised when it made the news. All of that nonsense aside, JWH’s “Cabinet of Wonders” residency at Le Poisson Rouge continues tonight (March 11), with the following impressive list of guests (unfortunately John Roderick of the Long Winters had to cancel due to illness):

John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders at LPR (03/11/2009)
Rosanne Cash
Eugene Mirman
Colson Whitehead
John Roderick (of The Long Winters)
Colum McCann
Errollyn Wallen

More tour dates and a Cabinet of Wonders video after the jump.

John Wesley Harding’s Cabinet of Wonders Tour (w/ Eugene Mirman)
March 11 New York, NY Le Poisson Rouge
March 20 Austin, TX Maggie Mae’s (SXSW)
March 25 Northampton, MA Iron Horse
March 26 Cambridge, MA Brattle Theater
April 1 Seattle, WA Tractor Tavern
April 2 Portland, OR Mississippi Studios (2 shows)
April 4 Los Angeles, CA Largo
April 5 San Francisco, CA The Independent
April 10 Chicago, IL Schuba’s
April 11 Madison, WI High Noon Saloon
April 15 New York, NY Le Poisson Rouge*

*Special Guests Include:
Graham Parker (musician, Bloodshot Records)
Eugene Mirman (comedian, Flight of the Conchords)
Daniel Wallace (magician/author, Big Fish)
Dan John Miller (actor/musician, ex-Blanche, played Luther Perkins in I Walk The Line)
Sam Lipsyte (author, one of New York Magazine’s “Ten Funniest New Yorkers You’ve Never Heard Of”)
Daniel Felsenfeld (classical composer/author)