LIVE MUSIC: JD McPherson – Renovating a Genre

My Americana

JD McPherson and I were both born in the mid 70s. I’m sure JD was exposed to music at a young age. I was four. When my dad got home from work, we would dance in circles on an small, oval, woven rug. We grooved to a compilation of 25 Rock Revival Greats including the Big Bopper, Bill Haley and His Comets, The Beach Boys, the Dave Clark 5, the recently deceased Chuck Berry, and more. This is how I was introduced to music. Years later, I asked about the whereabouts of that old rug we danced on. My parents tried to remind me that we got rid of it after I set it on fire.

Perhaps it was a subconscious and symbolic act by a little Firebug.I am not a dancer today. You’ll never see me cutting a rug at a wedding or a club. The amount of alcohol I would need to be that comfortable with myself in public would likely hospitalize me at my age. Well, alright, if you insist on getting a glimpse of my awkward moves, you might try me at home making dinner, pressing my gold toes into the hardwoods, to the tunes of JD McPherson.

Revitalizing the Music

Yeah, sure it might be the nostalgic sounds of that era that he builds off, but there’s enough “Golden Oldies” that could do that for me, but don’t. I’m not reliving the days before I was young. The resurrected sounds of classic rockabilly instruments in harmony with updated riffs and lyrics put me in this uninhibited feeling of joy.

I lose the battle trying to listen to It’s All Over but the Shouting, or Bossy without bopping around or spamming the song for an indeterminate time. Listening to the lyrics, especially with JD’s voice on the 2015 Shovels & Ropes cover of Toussaint McCall’s Nothing Takes the Place of you, there is no joy to be found. And yet, I still love it (Not ever having heard the original).

Let the Good Times Roll

I missed out in October 2015, the last time JD McPherson was in Columbus. When I found out he was coming into town this year, I didn’t care the venue, I jumped on the opportunity. He and his five-piece band occupied a cramped stage in the back of the Woodland’s Tavern in Columbus, OH. I was told it was not a good place to photograph, but I  didn’t care. I expected to enjoy the performance, even if it was lackluster. Now, I can say, I’ve never seen a performer do so many sweet jumps regardless of the limited space. These boys came to rock!

This band brought everything to a tiny stage, and an audience I wouldn’t have expect to see together. Curious to see what the audience would look like, I found it was an eclectic, even motley group. Together they rejoiced and made room for each other to dance, and cheer for their favorites.

I don’t know how this band was able to come together for a love of such classic and retooled sounds. I think they do it as well as anyone ever has. JD McPherson is three years younger than me, so it is easy to believe, especially after watching this video, we must have shared a similar experience in a younger America.