The lineup for this year’s Savannah Stopover Music Festival is impressive, but that’s not all parent company MusicFile Productions is putting on this year.
As if offering three full days of music were not enough, the organizers also planned a record three pre-shows. The first two featured Martian Sexton and Liz Cooper and The Stampede.
The third and final pre-show will feature JD McPherson on Feb. 23 at The Jinx. McPherson has never played in Savannah, so a chance to see the rising star in a small club is a real treat.
McPherson is known for his modern take on 1950’s style rockabilly, R&B and soul, and his popularity and critical praise keeps growing with each of his releases.
Hailing originally from Broken Arrow, Okla., the singer/guitar player released his debut album, “Signs & Signifiers” in 2012 and was quickly named an Artist to Watch by Rolling Stone Magazine. McPherson’s fanbase and clout continued to grow with his terrific second album “Let the Good Times Roll.”
When McPherson moved his family to Nashville, the big life-change led to creative frustration and subsequently a music breakthrough. He ran into a block when attempting to record a next album, so he flew to Los Angeles to jam with his friends Josh Homme and Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age. Homme forced McPherson out of his comfort zone, and with fresh energy and inspiration he returned to Nashville to hit the studio.
Not just any studio, mind you, but the legendary RCA Studio B, where masterpieces like Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight” were recorded. Because RCA Studio B is a museum by day, the requirements and restrictions for an artist to record there are daunting, but McPherson reveled in getting the chance to use such a storied piece of music history to craft his album.
McPherson worked with co-producer Dan Molad (drummer of Brooklyn pop band Lucius), and the trend of stretching boundaries continued. Molad even suggested possibly using a Casio keyboard at one point. McPherson also co-wrote some of the songs with Butch Walker, Parker Millsap and Aaron Lee Tasjan, and the ultimate result was McPherson’s most personal and rockin’ album. “Undivided Heart & Soul” was released by New West Records in 2017 and expanded his 1950’s retro sound with elements of 1960’s girl groups, 1970’s new wave, and modern fuzz reminiscent of The Black Keys (incidentally, Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbauch was a previous collaborator).
McPherson’s latest release was a Christmas album last year called “Socks” that added some rockabilly swing to the yuletide cheer. And, for whatever it’s worth, McPherson and his cracking band mates have performed his song “Crazy Horse” in animated form on “The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show.”
McPherson is known for his high-energy and fiery shows, so tickets are expected to sell pretty quick for this one. Regular tickets are $15, but if you purchase a three-day regular-priced festival pass or VIP pass for the Savannah Stopover, it’s only $10.