JD McPherson says his new "Let The Good Times Roll" "was certainly the first album that I made as a professional, touring musician."
Even though it's actually his second album.
The Oklahoma roots rocker -- who performs Wednesday, March 11, at the Magic Bag in Ferndale -- drew critical raves for his 2012 debut, "Signs and Signifiers," but he calls that release "more of an art project, definitely a labor of love. It was just something I always wanted to do." But after touring to support it, McPherson went into "Let The Good Times Roll" wanting to, well, keep the good times rolling.
"After playing tons and tons of shows and doing this for a living, it was a different approach," acknowledges McPherson, 37, who holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Tulsa and taught art and technology before devoting himself full-time to music. "It was a little more difficult this time around. Let's just say the songs were asking for a little more of a daring approach. You become a different person in two, three years, so the songs were a little different than the previous batch.
"It was a little scary at some point, because some of the stuff is a little unusual, and I didn't know how people were going to react to it. But if I was entirely comfortable the whole time I don't think I would've felt like I was moving forward, you know?"
Among McPherson's experiments on "Let The Good Times Roll" is the track "Bridge Builder," an atypically laid-back song that he says he had "in my back pocket for a long time" and wasn't able to finish it. Enter the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, a fan of McPherson's first album who invited him to Nashville to try to write some songs together.
"I'm not sure what the reason was other than for like-minded people working on something together," says McPherson. "I brought 'Bridge Builder' and said, 'Y'know what? I'm so frustrated with this song, I'm sick of it. Can you take a listen?
"So he started playing the chorus you hear now. I said, 'I feel uncomfortable with the chords.' He said, 'What are you talking about?' I said, 'These don't feel right,' and he said, 'Well, do you like the Everly Brothers?' 'Yeah.' 'Then shut up!' And from there we turned it into a song. He helped me with the lyrics and really brought the thing home, and that's maybe my favorite track on the record now."
JD McPherson and Dylan Pratt
Wednesday, March 11. Doors open at 8 p.m.
The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.
Tickets are $15.
Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
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