Oklahoma-born roots rocker on his new lineup, side gig and love of the season
By Julie Wegner Watson
JD McPherson, brings his holiday cheer to Tulsa’s Cain’s Ballroom Sat., Dec. 11, with “SOCKS: A Rock N’ Roll Christmas Tour.” Chicago’s Joel Paterson opens the show. Guaranteed to put you in a festive frame of mind, McPherson’s SOCKS tour is an evening of seasonal songs and straight up rock n’ roll.
In addition to the original holiday tunes off your 2018 album, Socks, will you be playing some of your other material? Will you perform with your regular band?
With the entire Socks album being only about nine minutes long soaking wet, there will definitely be a few seasonally-sensitive covers included, as well as cherry-picked tunes from my other albums. As for the band, that’s something new. Three members of my long-touring band have left during the pandemic to do other things. It’s been a really interesting transition. I’ve since been reunited with my original drummer, Alex Hall, and my good friend Beau Sample is playing bass. Ben Strehle, an old acquaintance from the road (I met him when he was playing with Nikki Lane), is on keys, and with me as always is Doug Corcoran, who is like my left hand at this point. We’ve played a few shows together under-the-radar, and it’s grooving like mad. We’ve also recently done a bit of recording together.
Do you anticipate any surprises or special guests on your Cain’s stop?
You never know! Some of these things come together the night of. The opening act, Joel Paterson, is going to blow people away. He went out with us on the last “Socks” tour, and it became apparent that the two acts were made for each other.
You haven’t lived in Tulsa for a while. Do you still enjoy coming back?
I’ve been gone 7 years, and I believe I’m going to move back soon. It’s time. I got what I needed from Nashville, and I’d like to be around my family again. I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen that Tulsa is the best little city in the world. Any night at Cain’s is a special one!
Are you a fan of the holidays? What are your Christmas plans for 2021?
I’m basically a dog in a chocolate shop during the holidays. I LOVE IT so much. It’s almost TOO MUCH glee – an uncomfortable amount. I love everything about it, even the lame parts. Our house looks like a gingerbread house this time of year – C9 bulbs everywhere. I’m planning on spending Xmas in Oklahoma this year, as most years. My wife’s family is in Broken Arrow, and my folks still live down in the Southeast corner.
Tell us what you’re currently working on, or what you have plans for next.
I recently got a gig playing guitar for Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, so I’m still waiting for someone to notice the gross clerical error that’s been made, or discover we’re living in a simulation. It’s been exactly what I didn’t know I needed after these rough couple of years. Everyone is incredibly kind, and to be able to play with them is more than an honor. Besides AK/RP, I have been recording very recently, and we should be hearing some of that shortly. It feels like a blank slate. I’m very excited.