Our mindset at Paste is currently turned squarely in the direction of Halloween, but leave it to JD McPherson to emerge from left field with tidings of comfort and joy instead. We’ve long been fans of the retro rock performer, who dazzled us with 2015’s Let the Good Times Roll and 2017’s Undivided Heart & Soul, but a Christmas album? We’ll let McPherson speak in his own defense on this one.
“Over the past few months, I’ve told a few friends and interested parties that we’re releasing an album soon, and that it’s a Christmas album,” McPherson says. “You can immediately see the disappointment or bemusement on their faces. Then I have to explain to them how incredibly proud I am of it, and how I rate it as an actual album, as opposed to some kind of stop-gap or cash-grab. It’s eleven original songs. I think it’s some of my very best lyrical work. The band played beautifully. It was the most fun we’ve ever had in a studio together. After hearing the final mix, we marveled, and none of us can stop listening to it. First and foremost, it’s a rock and roll record (fans of our first record are going to flip out) and one that I believe at least a few people will listen to in the summertime, when they get a jones for feeling good. Scout’s honor.”
Judging from the first few songs released on Socks, it does sound like we’re in good hands. First is the title track, an ode to the disappointment felt by every child who has ever received SOCKS as a Christmas gift.
Our own personal favorite, though, is “Hey, Skinny Santa!”, a rollicking, ‘50s-style jam dedicated to gluttony and regional cuisine. We can only imagine that this song is a compendium of favorite foods of McPherson’s band members in the cities where they perform regularly, whether it’s “Italian beef with giardinar-y hot and sweet” in Chicago, or “fried oyster po’boy and a nice lagniappe” in New Orleans. It’s hard not to smile at the deft, foodie wordplay in this one.
Socks is scheduled to arrive Nov. 2 on New West Records, and is already available for pre-order. In support of the album, the band will embark on “SOCKS: A Rock ‘n Roll Christmas Tour,” with shows in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, DC, Atlanta, Nashville and more. See full tour date below.
JD McPherson Tour Dates
28 — Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
29 — Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
30 — Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
1 — Detroit, MI @ El Club
2 — Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
4 — Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl
5 — Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
6 — Washington, DC @ Black Cat
8 — Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle
9 — Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
11 — Houston, TX @ Continental
12 — Austin, TX @ Scoot Inn
13 — Dallas, TX @ The Statler Ballroom
14 — Oklahoma City, OK @ Tower Theatre
15 — Memphis, TN @ 1884 Lounge
16 — Nashville, TN @ 3rd & Lindsley