Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Folk-punk troubadour Bryan McPherson’s immersion in Occupy Oakland in 2011 was a life-changing experience that informed his forthcoming dynamic third album, Wedgewood, due out Summer 2015. In between playing shows on “Teargas Tuesday” and dodging rubber bullets in the name of change at Occupy, he began to collate and catalog the inspiration for his latest offering. His songs meld Americana, folk, alternative, and punk into one incendiary, incisive sound - paying homage to influences such as Bob Dylan, The Sex Pistols, The Violent Femmes, Bruce Springsteen and Ani DiFranco.
Aiming to preserve the spirit of defiance and freedom, he retreated to Flying Whale Studios in Northern California in 2013. On the old Arrowhead goldmine in the Sierra Nevada foothills, Bryan cut himself off from the outside world for four months to self-produce the album. He holed up in a small hut on a friend’s ranch in the mountains just as winter began, and found that the rugged, isolated setting immensely impacted the music. In fact the album title reflects the brand of the stove in the hut: Wedgewood.
“Since it was freezing, I lit the wood-burning stove every day, which brought smoke, fire, and warmth into the recording process. Resultantly there’s a recurring theme of fire on the record,” Bryan shares. Wedgewood has a buildup, a climax, and a resolution - much like a fire. What happens when wood rubs against wood? It creates friction, and that friction creates fire.”
The album opens with first single “Born On A Highway” that starts with a vocal intro by his young nieces then rolls along on stark instrumentation and Bryan’s potent and powerful cadence. “It’s about the journey as a singer and traveling,” he says. “It discusses where the road takes you, and what it means to be a human being.”
“Here We Go” is a call-to-action for revolutionaries with its sharp lyrics and vibrant instrumentation, while “Hearts in Boxcars” depicts a strained love story of two people who must go in different directions because that’s where their lives are diverging. The expansive “Song From The Moon” illuminates the breadth of Wedgewood with its “revolutionary characters, the revolution of religion, and the revolution of spirituality,” Bryan asserts.
Touring year-round, Bryan has hit the road many times with punk luminaries Dropkick Murphys, he’s opened for the legendary Chuck Berry and boasts a fan in Slash. He’s received much critical acclaim, with the San Francisco Bay Guardian praising, “His words aren’t just cerebral ponderings about the state of the government. It is one man belting—at the top of his lungs—his honest, emotional impressions of the world.”
Bryan’s got something to say loud and clear. He explains, “I see music as a means for change. It’s a powerful and beautiful force, and it’s my life. I’m here to remind you with Wedgewoodthat we’re all stronger than we know.”