Old Music Finds A New Voice
The music industry in its current state has no shortage of diversity, with many artists constantly searching for new sounds and new ways to experiment with genres. Lately, there’s been a trend of artists taking several steps backwards, and finding inspiration from previous generations of music. Want to listen to a song based on ’50s and ’60s doo-wop? Listen to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.” Enjoy mid ‘80s synth-pop? Listen to the new Paramore album. Craving some funky or disco-influenced sounds? Dip your feet into Bruno Mars’ catalogue. There’s usually something for everyone. The only fans that were relatively left out were those interested in the ancient styles, like ’40s blues artists or even earlier gospel artists. But that’s all changing now.
Enter JD McPherson. Born and raised on a cattle ranch in southeastern Oklahoma, he picked up the guitar in his early teens while listening to musicians such as Buddy Holly and Little Richard. He then earned a masters degree in fine arts and worked as a video art and technology teacher, before choosing to pursue music more seriously. Now several years into his career, McPherson has just released his third LP, Undivided Heart and Soul.
The music is as retro as ever, and the influences shine through. The album’s eleven tracks find him exploring relatively modern territory, which to him means ’60s garage rock sound. “Desperate Love” and “Under The Spell of City Lights” channel doo-wop while “Lucky Penny” and “Bloodhound Rock” dip heavily into blues. Iconic rock band The Doors could be considered another strong influence, as their sound is heavily featured on the title track as well as the last song, “Let’s Get Out Of Here While We’re Young.”
Undivided Heart and Soul is filled with fuzzy guitars, organic drums, and strong vocals. Overall, McPherson does a fantastic job tapping into largely overlooked style of music. He not only bases songs off the genre, but he mixes elements into already catchy songs to create a gleeful pallette of old sounds for the new age. It remains to be seen whether or not it will be a smash hit in the mainstream, but it’s certain he’s carved himself into a good niche the music industry was sorely missing.