JD McPherson

Presented by Winthrop R&B Festival

JD MCPHERSON, not yet 40, has managed the near-impossible; he is at once a classic rock revivalist and a musical pioneer, all on the same albums. He’s knocking at the door of something that arguably hasn’t yet been accomplished—a spirited, almost spiritual hybrid that brings the forgotten lessons from the earliest days of rock & roll into a future that has room for the modernities of studio technique and 21st century singer/songwriter idiosyncrasies.

MCPHERSON grew up on an Oklahoma cattle ranch, where his dad introduced him to delta blues and jazz, and after getting into Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and punk rock during high school, he picked up a Buddy Holly box set. “Something about that scratched an itch,” he says. While still in college, he sent a demo to noted producer Jimmy Sutton, who brought him to Chicago to do an album. 

The roots rock album succeeded in a uniquely modern way; MCPHERSON, who studied visual art, made a video for one of the album cuts, and it went viral, getting more than 350,000 YouTube views. The resulting attention got him a deal with Rounder Records, and he has been touring and recording ever since. Writes the WASHINGTON POST, “he and his bandmates are great musicians taking ownership of a sound, not just mimicking one.”