John Wesley Harding

John Wesley Harding's long awaited album has finally arrived.  Four years after Harding's The Confessions of St. Ace (2000), Adam's Apple is here and attempting to fulfill its role as the finest recording of Harding's career.  Sharp songwriting and pop craftsmanship combine to create a presence o­n par with folks like Joe Henry, Steve Wynn, Chuck Prophet, Steve Earle, Roddy Frame, Rufus Wainwright…This album has a big brawny feel to it as a pop album with sophisticated musical tech.  The riffs and slides are perfectly within the time and moment.  The songs themselves speak o­n their own behalf as the process of artful integrity.  The album is an interesting combination of quirky, innovative lyrical and musical touches with dense, traditionally musical qualities.
 
While this is definitely o­ne of Harding's "pop" albums, there are still plenty of traces of his inner folkie (a la John Wesley Harding's New Deal and the Dynablob series) in songs like Monkey and His Cat and Sussex Ghost Story.  Tunes run from the slickly stylized to the homespun effort; sometimes you get rich pop concoctions while other times you get wise (and / or wise-ass) folk ruminations. But like all the best music out there, Harding's songs always have something truthful to say and a unique and cohesive presentation that makes you want to listen.

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