Musician JD McPherson‘s recent release Signs and Signifiers works somewhat as a time machine.
In the midst of today’s digital music revolution, McPherson, a former middle school art teacher from Oklahoma, has re-crafted a sound that is eerily reminiscent of rock ‘n’ roll’s nascent years. His soul-filled vocals instantly transport you to a time when rock walked a narrow border with the blues, and T-Bone Walker and Little Richard paved the way for what would eventually become an American standard.
McPherson characterizes his sound as “directly influenced by the mid-1950s rhythm and blues and the black side of rock ‘n’ roll that was happening or maybe didn’t get a lot of airplay. Stuff like Bunker Hill and even just the very first Little Richard stuff… the stuff that’s really, really intense and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up…”
Recently the band played a high-octane, rockabilly-fueled show at Portland’s Bunk Bar that had concertgoers spilling out of the venue and swing dancing in the street.
McPherson and his band were kind enough to allow opbmusic to film during their soundcheck as a horde of fans anxiously lined up around the block, teased by the reverberating sounds of the band’s classic rock ‘n’ roll.
We managed to sneak McPherson out the front entrance to record this on-the-street interview that gave him an authentic glimpse of Portland culture.
I won’t mention almost getting McPherson run over by an Amtrak commuter train. Nope, won’t mention that at all.
Check out the interview above, then head over to opbmusic for the full performance session.
- Studio Session: JD McPherson OPB Music