JD McPherson Gets Drunk on Roots Rock 2.0 (And Nothing Else)

Categories: Artists We Love
jd mcpherson.jpg
Jim Herrington
That's one sobering stare

We're not sure if JD McPherson is as strait-laced as he says he is. Sure, he may have cropped, slicked-back hair, a crisp denim jacket and choirboy looks, but it's hard to imagine the gravelly soul erupting in his voice is the product of anything but hard drinking and wild living. After all, why else would Tom Waits claim to be a fan?

"I don't take any intoxicants when I'm out on the road," says the plain-spoken, art teacher-turned-rocker from Oklahoma. "But performing is such a huge shot of life." Sobriety aside, we're betting the crowd gets a taste of that shot as well during his howling, teeth-gnashing set at the Constellation Room at the Observatory on Friday.

See Also:
*Paul Banks - The Constellation Room - November 30, 2012
*Hank III Doesn't Aim to Be Legendary, Just Original
*Jake McMullen of York Hangs Up His Baseball Glove For a Guitar

On the heels of his debut release, Signs and Signifiers, the singer/songwriter from the Midwest credits his sound to a steady diet of roots rock and a host of such unexpected influences as Fats Domino and the Pixies. Throughout Signs and Signifiers, songs such as "Your Love (Is All That I'm Missing)" hop between verses with sprightly guitar playing, loping snare and big brass. Released two years ago and getting wider attention via a new edition on Rounder Records, the album bursts into life from the opening chords of "North Side Gal." Combined with the guidance of producer/standup bassist Jimmy Sutton, McPherson splices his classic and contemporary influences to re-create the rebellious, juke-joint spirit that doesn't just ape American roots rock, but adds a little to the conversation.

"The whole point and reason that I liked [artists] such as Little Richard, the Ramones and Bruce Springsteen was they were doing something they really liked, and enthusiasm is what attracts me to early rhythm & blues and rock," he says.

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