JD McPherson 'Signs & Signifiers' - Rounder/HiStyle

Looking the part, JD plays an invigorating blend of rhythm 'n' blues, rockabilly, rock 'n' roll and country. He may look to some like he should be playing with Richard Hawley but the nearest reference may be to the early Blasters. The draw from the same well of sources, with the same love and the same aim of bringing that music kicking and screaming into the 21st century. And believe me they kick and scream. They being his essential partners in crime - Jimmy Sutton and Alex Hall. The former is the album producer, bassist, baritone guitarist and backing singer while Hall plays drums, piano and organ. The are joined by a range of guests on piano, strings and brass to fill out the sound and give it the depth that the recorded versions of these songs benefit from. There is no doubt that these three have absorbed those early influences, everything and anyone from Little Richard to The Clash and all those beloved Specialty and Vee-Jay recordings to deliver a set of songs that are co-written by combinations of the three. The opening track North Side Gal has been gaining airplay and has a great video to accompany it (on YouTube). Country Boy is written by the renowned Bryants, one of two covers featured has a nice mid-tempo groove that balances with the uptempo songs and the slower numbers like the tremeloed title song or the mournful athmosphere of A Gentle Awakening. B.G.M.O.S.R.N.R -which translates as "big gold mine of sweet Rock 'n' Roll" is just that with the ensemble swinging. Of course the man who has his name on the title is the focal point and his dynamic and versatile vocals are front and centre as is his essential lead guitar playing. JD McPherson may well be one of those vintage orientated acts who clicks with a wider audience to bring retro back to the future. Either way the signs are apparent that this is a very fine album and a great career debut.