John Wesley Harding: Video-making Man

He’s been called a renaissance man who writes cynical and amusing melodies, and he’s also been called Wesley — at least by his mum — and now we can add to that list (which is really much longer than space allows) affable video star. “Sing Your Own Song”, the lead single from his brand-new album The Sound of His Own Voice, features Harding chumming it up with comedian Eugene Mirman as they spoof Paul Simon’s classic “You Can Call Me Al” video (which featured comedian Chevy Chase, he being considerably taller than Mirman). All this arrived just in time for Simon’s 70th birthday on October 13 and can only be called pure coincidence.

The Sound of His Own Voice features a now familiar cast of characters, namely the Minus 5, featuring Peter Buck (now minus R.E.M.), Scott McCaughy (Baseball Project, Young Fresh Fellows), all members of the Decemberists, and others, all of them coming together as the King Charles Trio. The record also includes guest spots from Roseanne Cash and John Roderick of the Long Winters. McCaughy co-produced with Harding and it looks like these two will be spending plenty of time together as those loveable Minus 5 fellows will take to the road beside Harding this fall. That is, when he’s not busy with Cabinet of Wonders, an event he curates and which draws together his disparate musical and literary interests.

If you’re following all of this, good. If not, just sit back and enjoy the video for another one of Harding’s impeccably crafted pop gems. He might even let you call him John.