But the Alabama Shakes aren't the only new act bringing back the real R&B. JD McPherson, an art teacher from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma has made one hell of a debut record Signs and Signifiers. Here's the insanely catchy lead track and single "North Side Gal":
And as good as it is, "North Side Gal" is not the sole high point, as this entire CD cooks, swings and just gets it. JD's giving away a free download of "Northside Gal":
McPherson's a terrific singer with great phrasing. His band has just the right loose feel, complete with bass slaps, great piano work, toe tapping drum fills, and a fleet of vintage Cadillacs' worth of great guitar sounds.
Signs and Signifiers simply leaps out of the speakers. Check out this title track with its killer guitar hook intro, updating both Bo Diddley, and more modern rock licks like Johnny Marr's "How Soon Is Now?":
The CD reminds me less of any of its particular influences like Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and Buddy Holly than it does say Dave Alvin, artists with the deep respect for classic sounds, but with their own voice and spirit.
McPherson has been quoted as being just as big a fan of The Ramones and Wu-Tang Clan as he is of any '50's blues or rockabilly artists, and that deep musicality really shows here.
Rolling Stone is streaming the entire record here: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/album-stream-jd-mcpherson-signs-signifiers-20120417
You can listen once but then you gotta go buy it. I promise you it sounds particularly good played loud with your car windows down.
McPherson is on tour now and lucky for me, pulling into Portland this Saturday at my favorite bar in town, Bunk Bar. This is good.
Get this record. Summer's here and the time is right.