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ACL Interview: JD McPherson, Part Two

Friday, Oct. 11, 6pm, Zilker Tent stage

By Tim Stegall, Fri., Oct. 4, 2013

ACL Interview: JD McPherson, Part Two

One recently recorded surprise, Signs & Signifiers, introduces former grade school art teacher JD McPherson. Steeped in rockabilly, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter McPherson, bassist/producer Jimmy Sutton, and drummer/keyboardist Alex Hall didn't attempt to re-create Sun Records. Instead, they so accurately re-created the sound of Chess Records' R&B that you'd swear it was mono! McPherson took time from recording the follow-up to give us a call.

JD McPherson: We're working now on a new album, and it's actually more exciting than the first time, but it's harder work and there's more of an exciting conflict back and forth with this. I really love watching things start to stack up. You have ideas and through everybody's filter they start changing in front of your eyes into something you didn't expect. That's what happened on the first one for me. It was like, "Whoa! We sound like Willie Dixon and Chuck Berry and all those guys!" And it really sounds like it! I couldn't believe it.

Austin Chronicle: You originally released Signs yourself. It was picked up by Rounder Records, given better distribution. Your video was a hit on YouTube. Now you're about to play before thousands of people for two weekends at ACL. That's quite a journey.

JDM: If you count the release date on Jimmy Sutton's Hi-Style label, we're closing in on the third year of this record being available. ACL will be the last big show for it, where we're only playing songs from that record. It's a really wonderful feeling to end the cycle that way. Because [puts on hick accent] good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, the new record will be out shortly, and we'll be able to start again.

Check out part one of our Fidlar interview.

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