JD McPherson

In the distant lands of Oklahoma there lives a man who is keeping dreams alive. He works hard to connect with audiences all around the country by strumming his guitar and singing into a microphone. Like so many other musicians before him, his dream is to make a living doing what he loves to do, but unlike so many other musicians, his dream is coming true. This good ole’ boy from the midwest is JD McPherson.
At age 35, JD is a seasoned musician. He grew up in the rural Buffalo Valley of Oklahoma on a cattle ranch where most of his time was spent working and playing music. He recently released his first solo album, Signs and Signifiers, on the label Rounder Records, and it’s steadily gaining momentum as an old-school rock n’ roll album with undertones of new school flavor.
“I think that the primary driving force in our sound comes directly from 1950′s rhythm and blues. Lyrically, there’s elements of blues and jazz, but we’re not trying to be a revival band,” JD said. “It may not be obvious to everybody, but there’s also elements of punk, jamaican and even hip-hop.”
Songs such as “North Side Gal” are upbeat like that of Little Richard. Others, like “A Gentle Awakening,” are slower with orchestral accompaniment – making for a more fluid, full-bodied sound.
The album was recorded in a 100 percent analog studio with vintage microphones on an old 1/4-inch tape machine. The result is a gritty, upbeat album with a traditional 1950s sound.
The album, along with several music videos, have been attracting new listeners every day – bringing in crowds young and old to shows in Europe and the U.S., JD said.
Over the past year, the band has built up a dedicated fan base in Spain where they played a series of sold out shows in several cities.
“Spanish folks were the first and most vocal audience to support the album, and every time we’ve gone over there it’s been amazing,” he said.
The new album has put JD on a busy touring schedule, which for the most part, he’s enjoyed. He recently returned from a lively set of shows at SXSW in Austin, Texas.
“We played five shows in two days. We got to play at Willie Nelson’s ranch, and a lot of good came out of it. Pretty much anything you want to see {at SXSW} is all there at one time. There’s bands on every corner, in every nook and cranny,” JD described.
Yet as much as JD loves traveling and playing for his fans all around the world, he can’t help but notice the downsides of constantly being on the road.
“The worst part is being away from my family – my wife and two little girls. It’s extremely difficult,” he said.
When he’s not on the road, JD spends his time as a family man who enjoys watching movies, art, cooking, archery and shooting guns, among other things. He’s got a variety of interests, but music remains his main focus. JD has been performing with bands since the age of 13, and with the success of the new album, there’s no sign of him slowing down.
“I’ve always been serious about making music,” he said. “But even when I made this record we didn’t think all this was going to be happening. We thought it was a good rock ‘n’ roll album that we might get a few festivals and trips out of. Within about a year, it started getting passed around, and here we are today.”
For JD, his recent success is a dream come true.
“The best part is being an artist and actually making a living at it,” he said. “We just want to play a good show and connect with the audience. Specifically the Pacific Northwest is one of my favorite areas in the world, but it’s the same everywhere we go; we just go show by show trying to build our sound and connect with the crowed.”
See JD perform on Thursday, May 31 at The Green Frog. For more information, visit www.JDMcPherson.com.