JD McPherson, Dylan Pratt | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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JD McPherson, Dylan Pratt 

When: Thu., March 12, 9 p.m. and Fri., March 13, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: $22, $20 in advance
Oklahoma rocker JD McPherson’s debut album, 2010’s Signs & Signifiers, is charged by a revivalist purity that channels the spirit of Little Richard on its in-the-red rockers and early Bobby “Blue” Bland in its more suave moments. Though McPherson and his band have tempered some of that stylistic nostalgia on their fine new record, Let the Good Times Roll (Rounder), they haven’t abandoned their devotion to early rock ’n’ roll and R&B. They’ve just turned up the volume on their clever postmodern collisions. The title track—an original, not the Louis Jordan classic—is driven by an electric bass line played by Chicagoan Jimmy Sutton (who previously stuck exclusively to an upright) and during the break shows off flailing guitar lines from McPherson that sound more like bursts of noise from a windmilling Pete Townshend than rockabilly licks. For “Bossy,” acoustic instruments were fed into an old Magnatone amp to create lovely layers of distortion that could find appreciation in West Africa. “Bridge Builder,” a sparse ballad cowritten with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, is like a blend of the Everly Brothers and Arthur Alexander, and it’s one of several songs that benefits from staccato, single-note piano parts. A couple of tracks later, the rudely slashing tremolo guitar riffs on “Head Over Heels” are inspired by the art-brut playing of Dr. Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson, while the on-the-beat hand claps remind me of the Sonics jam “Shot Down.” In extending decades-old ideas it’s these little tweaks that resonate, and McPherson’s got plenty of them. —Peter Margasak
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