The work of visual artist, singer-songwriter, guitarist and Oklahoma-native JD McPherson channels his eclectic interests and creative gusto in a singular musical collage that takes a reverence for the past and wraps it in a decidedly forward-thinking motif. The art teacher turned rocker writes songs that reference 40s R&B and the sounds of 50s American rock and roll, pulling from the aesthetic of such record labels as Specialty, Vee-Jay and Del-Fi. Having played in a punk outfit and embracing a penchant for hip-hop, McPherson's retro melange bridges the divide among ostensibly disparate artists, from Ruth Brown to the Wu-Tang Clan, Elvis Presley to the Smiths, Jackie Wilson to Stiff Little Fingers. In 2010, McPherson released his solo debut, Signs & Signifiers, produced by Jimmy Sutton. Originally released on indie imprint Hi-Style Records, the album was re-released to a wider audience on Rounder Records in 2012. "Although I grew up wanting to be a visual artist, I'll tell you what: the most satisfaction I've ever had as an artist is right now," says McPherson. "Because as much as I love artists like Joseph Beuys, I love David Bowie and Little Richard more."
In this interview, JD McPherson shares his impressions of Chuck Berry. McPherson is among the artists who will perform during the Rock Hall's 2012 American Music Masters tribute concert honoring Chuck Berry.