Named as an “artist you should know” in 2011 by NPR, singer-songwriter JD McPherson will make his Rounder Records debut April 17 with the release of Signs and Signifiers, “a rockin’, bluesy, forward-thinking album that subtly breaks the conventions of most vintage rock projects.” (All Music). Known for energetic live shows, JD and the band will hit the road in support of the release this spring with stops in Austin (SXSW), New York, Boston, Chicago, and other cities.
Hailing from Broken Arrow, OK, the former art teacher and his band traveled to Chicago to record Signs and Signifiers at Hi-Style studio, which is housed in the attic of producer/bassist/studio owner Jimmy Sutton’s home and is 100% analog. “I have recorded this style of music in the digital realm, and it just doesn't quite “sing” as much. Slamming that ¼” tape really hard produced the most beautiful distortion I've ever heard,” says McPherson.
Featuring JD McPherson (lead and backing vocals, guitar), Jimmy Sutton (bass), and Alex Hall (drums, piano, organ), the album was recorded through a collection of vintage microphones into an old 1960’s Berlant 1?4 inch tape machine. The 12-track album kicks off with the fervent pulse of the first single, “North Side Gal,” and segues into one of the albums two covers, McPherson’s take on “Country Boy,” an old R&B number originally written and recorded by Tiny Kennedy.
With over 350,000 YouTube views, McPherson’s self-directed video for “North Side Gal,” was shot by the band in the Hi-Style studio and features the classic gear used for the recording of the album. View/share/embed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZGn4LncY0g
Preferring not to be painted into a corner with labels, McPherson asks, “What is retro? Is Adele too retro? Is La Roux too retro? To me, Adele sounds like a product of her influences... as is the case with anybody else. With the recurring interest in soul or even R&B, there seems to be a line most artists won’t cross—that line into the world of the swinging, visceral abandon of real rock ‘n’ roll.”
The album hosts an array of guest musicians, including Scott Ligon on piano (NRBQ’s Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet); Jonathan Doyle (Nick Curran & the Lowlifes, White Ghost Shivers); Chicago’s Josh Bell (The Del Moroccos) on tenor and baritone saxophones; Susan Voelz (Alejandro Escovedo, Poi Dog Pondering) on violin; Allison Chesley (Helen Money) on cello, and Joel Paterson (The Modern Sounds) lends choice guitar work to the Joey Simone classic “Your Love (All That I’m Missing).”