Broken Arrow musician JD McPherson‘s acclaimed solo album, “Signs & Signifiers” has been picked up by Rounder Records.
The album is set for Rounder release on April 17. Other Rounder artists include influential industry leaders Aaron Neville, Alison Krauss, Bob Wills, Woody Guthrie, Willie Nelson, Dailey & Vincent, Ween, Duran Duran, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, J.J. Cale, John Mellencamp, Sun Ra, Mumford & Sons and dozens of others.
The longtime Tulsa-area musician’s bluesy rock ‘n’ retro style was picked by NPR in its year-end lists. “Signs & Signifiers,” was at No. 4 in reporter Kevin Cole’s “5 Artists You Should Know” list for 2011.
Released independently in late 2010, the record also was the Tulsa World’s top album of 2010. Looks like he now has a shot at “best of” lists for 2012, too.
He also was recently chosen for an official showcase at the monster music and industry fest South by Southwest this March in Austin.
The former art teacher and his band traveled to Chicago to record “Signs & Signifiers” at Hi-Style studio, housed in the attic of producer-bassist-studio owner Jimmy Sutton’s home and is 100 percent analog.
“I have recorded this style of music in the digital realm, and it just doesn’t quite ‘sing’ as much. Slamming that ¼-inch tape really hard produced the most beautiful distortion I’ve ever heard,” McPherson said in a press statement.
McPherson’s also toured the globe with his blend of rockabilly-blues-Americana revival, sort of a Mike Ness-meets-Elvis. It’s good, old-fashioned American rock ‘n’ roll. His family hails from Buffalo Valley, Okla., but he calls Broken Arrow his home.
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.”
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.
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).”