Credit Allison Michael Orenstein / Courtesy of the artist
"When I first started making music, I took a fake name to disguise the fact I was going to embark on what was bound to be a short, unsatisfactory musical career," John Wesley Harding says. That was 23 years ago.
Harding recently launched a side career as a novelist, for which he uses his given name: Wesley Stace. But he's continued to release music under his alias, a name he shares with a 1967 Bob Dylan record. Speaking with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon, Harding says he's learned to spread the wealth between his two creative personas.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks formed after Malkmus' previous band, Pavement, went on hiatus in 1999. Five albums later, Malkmus has evolved as much as he's returned to his roots: He's sometimes focused and refined, other times lithe and unpredictable.
The L.A. collective Fool's Gold visits World Cafe today to discuss its latest work, Leave No Trace. Under the artistic leadership of Lewis Pesacov and Luke Top, the band has become known for incorporating rhythms and sound textures — particularly in the guitar parts — from all over the globe, including Africa and the Middle East. For the current record, the group, once 12 members strong, has pared itself down to a quintet, in the process fine-tuning the detail in its songwriting.
Singer-songwriter Paul Brady's acclaim extends beyond his reputation as one of Ireland's most loved artists — he's renowned worldwide as one of folk music's greats. Brady grew up listening to the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Winifred Atwell and Fats Domino, and taught himself to play the piano and guitar almost entirely by ear.