The rock ‘n’ roll-slash-roots-slash-rockabilly musician recently headed to Chicago, where he recorded his debut album, “Signs & Signifiers,” released last year on Rounder Records.
A new album is in the works, he said.
“It’s highly probable we’ll play new material at the Tulsa show,” he said. “We’ll see how the Chicago sessions go.”
In recent months, he’s played Glasgow, Paris, Amsterdam, “all over England,” as well as the U.S., Canada and Germany. He was given the official “MacPherson” tartan tie from a radio host of BBC Scotland. He played a festival in that tie (and with a “MacPherson” clan beer opener) – and a whole lot of new friends.
“That’s one of my favorite places now,” he said of Scotland. “The people are warm, fun-loving, good people.” He’ll play his first Australian show in March.
He also played live to millions on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
His ’50s-inspired take on rock ‘n’ roll incorporates everything from Little Richard and Fats Domino to The Pixies, The Clash and Led Zeppelin. His voice is his own, and he’s earned a grass-roots fan base that spans the globe due to his earnest take on songwriting.
“Signs & Signifiers” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart last April. The video for “North Side Gal” found air time on Country Music Television and has been viewed more than 1.1 million times on YouTube. He headlined Tulsa International Mayfest last May and played countless rockabilly and roots music festivals across the globe before and since.
He’s back in town Saturday for a live show at Cain’s Ballroom, with his “old friends” The Bellfuries, a band he’s shared playbills with for more than 15 years. He’s home for a week before taking off on the road again.
McPherson has been home only a few weeks over the past year – and away from his wife and children. He left the life of a schoolteacher, part-time musician and artist to play music full-time.
Not that he regrets it.
But there are days when he “thoroughly misses” his wife, family, old friends, … “pet, couch, special coffee cup and my chair.” He’s never traveled so much as he does now.
“I was gone nearly all year,” he said. As the words were spoken, they seemed to sink in. “Man, that’s a long time.”
He finds balance with a little help from technology – and a pen.
“The best thing in the world is being able to write notes to my wife and kids. I get so homesick for my two little girls. My wife’s job is as hard as mine. No, it’s more so,” he said.
With the major-label album, world tour and burgeoning fan base also comes another thing he never quite suspected. “I’ve been getting phone calls from people. I have no idea how they find me.”
Fans have a way of doing that. So do critics. In November, Rolling Stone named McPherson an “Artist to Watch.” He sold out a live show on National Public Radio’s “World Cafe Live.” NPR also credits him with “capturing” the sound of original Chess Records musicians (Bo Diddley, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Muddy Waters) on his solo debut. The Guardian UK named him “band of the day” last year, and claimed that Tom Waits, Nick Lowe and John Prine are all “big fans” of McPherson’s modern brand of retro-rock.
He also was picked up by Decca Records for UK distribution (label mates include Louis Armstrong, Morrissey, Annie Lennox and Billie Holiday).
“Balance? What’s that?” McPherson said, then laughed. “I’m still reeling. If anybody thinks this is an easy job, it’s definitely not. We’re already planning our tour schedule for next year.”
Not that he’s complaining. But, you know, he’s still – and always will be – a family man, he said.
“There is no other place I’d rather be than with my wife and girls. That’s home. Every minute, every second, is cherished. There’s no place like home.”
Source: Tulsa World Scene