- Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
$20 - $35
What came to mind the first time I heard JD McPherson’s band? My childhood. He reminded me of being four years old and leaving out of Texas in ‘57 with my mom and the music that was on her car radio: a nonstop clash of Eddie Cochran-ish Nashville and R&B. Jonathan David McPherson, raised on a cattle ranch near Tulsa Oklahoma, is 41, and as such, is about 20 years behind that period of American pop culture. But along the way, he acquired it. It was 1954 when American youth finally got their own music, and a major factor was the emergence of a new technology called the transistor radio. The radios were small and portable and they fit beneath one’s pillow for unsupervised night listening. Best of all, unlike the furniture-size radios that entertained family parlors through the 1940s, the transistor radio allowed a user to tune in whatever clandestine offerings were desired. Deejays and record producers were quick to catch on.
J.D. McPherson in the Backroom Lounge at Record Archive
By the time McPherson was 16, he could play guitar and sing and write, and he did what many musical teens of that generation did. He started a garage punk band and he perfected that three-chord frenzy that stems from hormonal urgency. He went to college, got an arts degree, and until the school district cut him loose for his progressive views, McPherson’s day job was as a middle-school art teacher in Oklahoma. Joblessness allowed him to grow his band. By 2012, he’d released Signs and Signifiers, then Let the Good Times Roll. Number three, Undivided Heart and Soul, was finished during the fall of last year. 1950s rock is new to younger listeners today, but it’s the spot on the historic timeline where teen rebellion first kicked in. It faded eventually, but McPherson plays like it never ended.