John Wesley Harding has a special place in my heart, well beyond my appreciation for his music: he is the first artist I've ever seen at McCabe's, the best concert venue in the Universe. Back in 1990, my interest in Wes' music was at its peak, so I did not think much about driving 102 miles, round trip, to catch him live in concert. His show was terrific, so I went back a few more times to see him again. But then, in 1996, I felt that his newer albums just weren't as good as his earlier ones, so I began drifting away from his music and eventually stopped following him altogether.
Sooner or later, it had to happen ... I reconnected with Wes in July 2007, after an eleven-year long hiatus, and I'm very glad I did. He came out with his reconstituted old band, the Radical Gentlemen:
Robert Lloyd - piano, mandolin
Chris von Sneidern - bass
Kevin Jarvis - drums
Kirk Swan - guitar
Wes looked more mature - surprise, surprise - but sounded just like his old self and exuded the same self-confidence he had always had. There were many new songs, but they all sounded good to me, especially the self-deprecating "Top Of The Bottom". He also sang a couple of songs from "Here Comes The Groom", which to this day I believe is his best album.
Long-time friend and musical partner Chris von Sneidern opened for Wes in October 2009. His set was surprisingly good, with quite a few catchy songs.
|Chris von Sneidern|
My friend Steve A, who had not seen Wes before, took my advice and showed up as well. We sat together in the front row, from where we enjoyed a very good performance. Wes received support from half of the Radical Gentlemen, namely Chris von Sneidern and Robert Lloyd.
|John Wesley Harding taking the final bow at McCabe's (October 2009)|
|John Wesley Harding signing autographs at McCabe's (October 2009)|
|Concert poster (2009)|