JD McPherson's path to the roots rock music he makes was direct -- if not exactly expected.
The first stuff I was into was what my brothers were into -- Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, (Jimi) Hendrix, guitar stuff," says the Oklahoma-raised McPherson, who earned a master's degree in fine arts at the University of Tulsa. But when he started digging into alternative and punk rock, what he calls "the weirder stuff," McPherson, who's been nominated for two Americana Music Awards, says he "kind of lost my brothers and went out on my own.
"Then I ended up coming across some Buddy Holly stuff and liked it. It made more sense to me identity-wise than the Ramones or the Stooges or anybody else. And that, of course, led me into LIttle Richard, Fats Domino and that side of rock 'n' roll, which has been the main love of my life since then -- although I do like most everything."
Those varied tastes do show up on McPherson's debut album, "Signs & Signifiers," which stretches beyond oldies references to include contemporary sonic flavors and lyrical turns.
"I really think the songs sort of guides what to do," McPherson says. "If something hooks your ear, I think you kind of file it away and then it pops up at the appropriate time. It just happens in the studio; you'll come up with something and say, 'This make some think of some T.Rex song or some Ted Nugent song' or something. And then you come up with a weird little drum fill and throw that in.
"It's rock 'n' roll, right? I don't think it's supposed to have any rules."
JD McPherson performs Thusday, May 30, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
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