Oklahoma native JD McPherson and his slick backing band of Chicago-based musicians had people lining up around the block at the Echo in Los Angeles for a show that even guest listed people couldn't get into. And no wonder: The show from his sold-out West Coast tour in June was fresh off a performance on Conan, the group's first "honest to goodness" television appearance. Sweltering inside, the packed room jumped with the sweet sounds of retro rock n' roll and rhythm and blues, making for the perfect cruising summer soundtrack.
"We really wanted to be on Conan because he's is a fan of this kind of music and we found out he likes our band," McPherson told Y! Music before his show at Santa Monica, California's historic McCabe's Guitar Shop. "You can watch the video back [of the performance] and we were going three times faster than we normally do because there's so much adrenaline."
With a sound that is vibrantly reminiscent of 50s after hours dancehall hits mixed with angsty tunes to appease the most brooding bluesman, JD McPherson went from being a middle school teacher to touring internationally and making an appearance on one of TV's most beloved late-night shows in just a year. Granted his debut album was released on anther label in 2010 then re-released on Rounder in 2012, once he got a foothold his success has grown exponentially.
McPherson's backstory sounds like a quintessential slice of Americana: Grew up on a cattle ranch in a rural part of Southeast Oklahoma with a music-obsessed father from Alabama who sang at church and played the kind of Delta blues and jazz that would've been frowned upon for a white southerner in the 60s to listen to. McPherson played guitar in church, but never sang because he was too nervous. Still sort of is, even with his distinctive, swoon-worthy vocals.