Music Review: JD McPherson - Signs and Signifiers

| 7/3/2012 11:12:09 AM

 jd mcpherson album
JD McPherson
Signs and Signifiers
Available now on Rounder Records (April 17, 2012)

If there’s a way to go straight forward while looking backward, JD McPherson has found it.

McPherson delivers a dozen straight ahead, no-nonsense R&B rockers on Signs and Signifiers, all with an eye on rock and roll’s formative decade. To be sure, this is no regression, just an exercise in honoring the past without falling into a nostalgia trip. With a voice that calls to mind Little Richard, McPherson joyfully belts out songs designed to get feet on the dance floor.

“North Side Gal,” the opening track and first single, is a sure sign of what’s in store. McPherson strums on his six string, focusing more on his vocals, while Jimmy Sutton and Alex Hall put down a smooth rolling rhythm. That’s primarily the formula throughout: McPherson’s raspy, yet smooth-around-the-edges vocals glide along over beats that sound like they’d be at home in a 1950s dance hall.

jd mcpherson artist  

“Wolf Teeth” is perhaps the roughest cut, as McPherson veers his farthest into rough rock territory, but he proves he can work his way around a smooth, slower-tempo number as evidenced in the title track and “Country Boy,” a cover of Tiny Kennedy’s tale of a farm hand who only knows working the land. Sutton, who also produced and plays upright bass, shines on the latter, plucking a bass line that frames the whole affair without getting flashy.

Chris Bizzarro
11/27/2012 7:32:53 PM

JD Mcpheron is a legened! Check out the best album review of Signs and Signifiers here

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