JD McPherson Releases Christmas Album Socks

By Brian Rock

JD McPherson is ready to sock it to your tired old Christmas playlist with his festive new release, Socks. McPherson wraps his righteous roots rock riffs in a big ol’ sparkly bow to help put you in the holiday spirit.

“All The Gifts I Need” starts the holiday party with a festive handbell and cymbal intro that blossoms into a rollicking, piano and saxophone driven barrelhouse rocker. With infectious joy, McPherson describes the excitement and anticipation of the Christmas season: “Today’s anything but the same old thing. I can almost hear those sleigh bells ring. Singing all those happy songs while the little ones all dance along. Take a real quick look around and suddenly I see, it’s not even Christmas yet; I got all the gifts I need.” It’s a beautiful sentiment of family togetherness delivered with an irresistibly catchy melody.

McPherson brings his powerful Jackie Wilson meets Eddie Cochran voice to the fore on all the tracks on this album. And every song here is an original. There’s no tedious “Twelve Days of Christmas,” or soulless renditions of “Jingle Bells.” Every song is a fresh new audible ornament for the holiday season. In fact, if he were to change the holiday lyrics, this would be a contender for best Roots Rock album of the year.

JD channels his inner Larry Williams on “Bad Kid” as he laments the stigma of finding himself perpetually on Santa’s naughty list. With a swampy, Cramps-inspired bass line and flourishes of surf rock and rockabilly, he makes getting lumps of coal sound almost fun.

“Hey Skinny Santa,” is a mouthwatering, Louis Jordan inspired jump jive about fattening Santa up for his big day. With a heaping helping of New Orleans Jazz rhythms, it’s reminiscent of the brighter moments from Harry Connick Jr’s iconic, “When My Heart Finds Christmas” album.

“Socks” is a slinky, bluesy tribute to the “worst gift that I ever got.” “Every Single Christmas” is the uplifting, holiday equivalent of Jackie Wilson’s, “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher.” “Ugly Sweater Blues” alleviates the angst of gay apparel with a little Hawaiian slide guitar. Hand claps and staccato percussion on top of a Mersey Beat rhythm help describe the pleasures of spending the holidays with “Holly, Carol, Candy & Joy.” “Santa’s Got A Mean Machine,” celebrates Santa’s famous sleigh with a healthy dose of Jerry Lee Lewis piano. “What’s That Sound,” brilliantly captures the excitement and energy of the days before Christmas. With electric handbells and jumpin’ Fats Waller piano rolls, the song sounds like Christmas Eve feels. “Claus Vs. Claus,” is a wonderful, battle of the sexes, Blues duet featuring Lucie Silvas. JD also includes his previously released Christmas single, “Twinkle (Little Christmas Lights)” which is a flat our rocker that Little Richard himself would be proud of.

JD McPherson’s holiday offering is the perfect antidote for the overplayed, predictable mall and radio Christmas playlists. It’s fun, festive, and fantastic; one of the best Christmas albums in years. In short, Socks rocks!

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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