Aiden is signed with the IMG Agency. He has worked with YSL and other fashion clients.
Aiden is signed with the IMG Agency. He has worked with YSL and other fashion clients.
I want to get hearts racing, energy flowing, and make people feel good!
Allie Concannon is one of those tall, svelte New York City downtown girls that you see strolling down the street.
Style for me is about aesthetics over gender specifics. From a young age, I was drawn to a very androgynous, conceptual self-image.
Every so often a mesmerizing young beauty emerges from the downtown music scene of New York City and catches our eye.
Lew Phillips is the young, 23 year old Canadian musician that we stumbled upon a few years back, and since then we’ve been captivated by both his music and personal style.
Musician Brian Hill’s debut album ‘And The Noh Starrs’ was recently released via Modern Sky USA. Brian was photographed in New York City on July 31st, 2017.
You’ve probably seen or heard something about Nick Waterhouse, the talented West Coast musician – you know, the one with that terrific voice and sound, harking back to another era.
Breanna Barbara is a new voice on the downtown New York City music scene. The Ridgewood, Queens resident is sure to make her sound known all over the world.
C.W. Stoneking is a gifted Australian musician. It’s difficult to describe his music, as it’s a jambalaya of different musical genres.
JD McPherson, the gifted Oklahoma born musician, is spreading his love of all things Americana by touring the U.S, promoting his most recent release, Let the Good Times Roll. We first stumbled upon this talent a few years back, and have been passionately attached to everything he does. So it was to our great surprise that we were granted permission to photograph McPherson, his legendary upright bassist Jimmy Sutton, as well as the other members of this terrific ensemble, Jason, Doug and Ray, before a sold-out show in New York City. An interview followed, as we were extremely interested in JD’s background, his thoughts on the making of the creation of this second release, and whatever else he would be willing to answer for our readers. Photography Alexander Thompson.
PONYBOY: JD, what was your upbringing like in Oklahoma?
JD MCPHERSON: I was raised on my parents’ cattle ranch in beautiful Southeast Oklahoma. People from there don’t say what community they’re from, they say “I’m from Southeast Oklahoma” or they might get more specific and say “I’m from Pushmataha County”. I grew up in an area between Buffalo Mountain and the Potato Hills, affectionately referred to as “The Tater Hills”, right next to Sardis lake.
We raised registered Brangus cattle, which is a breed comprised of Black Angus and a Brahman lineage. Growing up in this rural, isolated environment afforded me quite a bit of freedom to listen to music, play guitar, draw, read, and run around in the woods. That’s pretty much all I wanted to do.
PONYBOY: When did you start getting into music?
JD MCPHERSON: At around age thirteen, I started getting interested in what my older brothers were listening to, which was primarily guitar-heavy classic rock, meaning bands like Cream, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. This is what got me interested in guitar, and becoming an active listener to rock music in general. I discovered punk rock through rock magazines and what little information was available to me from visits to Tulsa and Fort Smith, Arkansas. There were no record stores where I grew up, so I would save my money and buy music when we visited the city. Punk rock opened up a whole world to me. I really ended up working hard, probably harder than I ever have since, on making and recording music and artwork. It was a very prolific time. I call punk rock a “gateway music”, so you’ll ultimately start getting into other things as well. I got into early rock ‘n’ roll in my late teens. It had all the energy and attitude that I found in the Ramones, but had a little more finesse and sophistication in the musicianship than punk did. I could also identify a little more strongly with the musicians, singers, and writers from the South than I could with four guys from Queens, or a band from the UK.
PONYBOY: How did the band JD Mcpherson form?
JD MCPHERSON: It took a while to get the lineup solid, but it began when we started playing shows after making our first record. Jimmy Sutton is the only member of my band who has been there since the beginning. We’ve played with a lot of musicians, but with the evolution into the current lineup of me, Jimmy, Jason, Ray, and Doug, we’re finally hitting on all cylinders.
PONYBOY: Jimmy is an incredible musician. Tell us a bit about your affiliation/collaboration with the great Mr. Sutton.
JD MCPHERSON: Jimmy and I worked closely together on the first record. He enticed me to record at his studio, with all the guys he knows in Chicago, and we all hit it off immediately, both personally and musically. Jimmy is, in my opinion, the coolest upright bassist on the planet. He cares about tone, gets a great sound, and he’s got a really tasteful technique. I never worry about what he’s going to play. He’s an incredible performer, as well, and an asset to the live show. One thing I like about Jimmy’s performing is that he avoids the typical upright bassist’s bag of stage tricks – the “spinning move”, the “two handed slap” etc. He just focuses on playing well. That’s what you want in a bassist.
PONYBOY: You’ve recorded both your records at Hi-Style’s analog recording studio in Chicago. What is the recording process like?
JD MCPHERSON: Just to be clear, the first record was recorded at Hi-Style. But the new album was recorded in Valdosta, Georgia, at Soil of the South studio, with Mark Neill and I co-producing. Some supplemental recording and overdubs were done at Hi-Style, as well as at a couple other studios in Tulsa.
The process can be very simple, or very complicated, depending on the song. The song might practically record itself, or it may take work to bring the song into the finish line. The main idea is to always have at least the rhythm section and a guitar record together in the same room, so it has a “spark”. I enjoy using time-tested, classic equipment because of the qualities that these pieces bring to recorded music. I also enjoy the vibe of them just sitting around. However, it’s important to be pragmatic, and to take advantage of every option available. The digital realm has really moved to a cool place in the last few years.
PONYBOY: Your debut album Signs & Signifiers was released in 2010 to rave reviews. How was your vision different for this follow-up record, Let the Good Times Roll?
JD MCPHERSON: I took a lot more chances in the writing on this new record. The songs are much more personal, and the music and sound is a bit more experimental. I was so nervous about the personal nature of the new material, that I didn’t play the demos to anyone, not even the producer, until we got to the studio! It took a lot of trust on the part of all parties, but I’m very happy with the result. I do think that the “drop and go” nature of the recording added a kind of raw energy to the songs. The new material wasn’t working with our old process. It became more and more apparent that they needed a different treatment – bigger, more billowy hifi sounds. I was listening to a ton of Link Wray and Irma Thomas. I think the new record is a bit of a mixture of their records.
PONYBOY: Your first leg of this tour has had sold out shows everywhere. What is touring like for you on a personal level?
JD MCPHERSON: I love the ebb and flow of record, perform, record, perform. Playing gigs is where you make a connection with people, and it’s incredible. I’m a pretty shy person, but somehow the stage feels like a very comfortable place for me to be. I love hearing folks sing along with the songs, it’s the most rewarding part of the whole thing.
PONYBOY: What bands/musicians would you consider to be your musical influences?
JD MCPHERSON: My favorite artists are Little Richard, The Clash, The Ramones, Bo Diddley, Irma Thomas, Ken Boothe, Bad Brains, Levon Helm, Big Sandy & the Fly Rite Boys, The Smiths, Astrud Gilberto, Mickey Baker, Fats Waller, and Link Wray. There are so many, and the list changes all of the time. I’m also a big Madonna fan, and I’ve been listening to a ton of Teenage Fanclub.
PONYBOY: The band has a big following with the rockabilly crowd, and you’ve been dubbed a revivalist .What are your thoughts on this?
JD MCPHERSON: We love all those folks, as we are a like-minded collective. And as far as being a revivalist, I don’t know how that can be avoided, or why it would be a negative. I just love rock ‘n’ roll so much. I remember as a kid reading an article with Nirvana (one of my favorite bands ever), and Kurt Cobain mentioned that he felt it was his responsibility to introduce bands like Black Flag and Flipper to the mainstream. I definitely feel that if I caused a couple of kids to check out Bo Diddley and The Johnny Burnette Trio, I’ve done good work.
PONYBOY: How would you describe your personal dress style?
JD MCPHERSON: I like classic style, style that will never disappear. Vintage American style is always going to be a constant. I tend to be much more comfortable in clothes that aren’t flashy, but rather rugged and utilitarian. I always thought Desi Arnaz was the coolest looking cat, with his two-tone gabardine suits. However I could never pull that look off – believe me, I tried! I find the style of working class artists like Jackson Pollock and the Beat writers to be much more accessible. I love the photos of Pollock in his Levis and work boots creating his paintings, and the photos of Jack Kerouac in a beat up pair of high-waisted chinos and a PT sweater. You can’t beat a pair of five pocket jeans, and some clunky boots. I have a few good, quality pieces, and I wear them out.
PONYBOY: What is family life like for you, with touring so extensively?
JD MCPHERSON: We’re getting used to touring, but it’s really tough. It’s the only downside to being a musician. I am so in love with my family. I have to say that if it weren’t for video calls like Skype or FaceTime, I wouldn’t be able to do it. The first year we were out was incredibly difficult on all of us. However, the shows are growing in quality and occurring with less frequency, so I’m finding a better balance.
Mary Simich is a twenty-one year old tan and tall beauty on the Wild Records label. She stuns when she walks into any room. She is California – a fresh faced athletic girl who swims and sails. Her smooth voice and elegant stage presence draw you in. She’s a best dressed, always in dramatic ensembles created by her older brother Chris Simich, with whom she also shares the stage in a musical side project known as Tiny & Mary. You always notice Mary Simich. She carries herself with a mature confidence and beauty, considering her young age. She’s a unique mixture that is reminiscent of Grace Kelly.
PONYBOY MAGAZINE: Mary, what was your upbringing like? Where were you raised?
MARY SIMICH: I was born and raised in Orange County, California (the part of Southern California that is not Los Angeles). I am a California girl through and through–a lover of sand, sea, and sunshine. My parents have been together for nearly forty years and I don’t think they’ve ever loved one another more. I am the youngest of five kids and was a total surprise! Born ten years after my four older siblings, it was like having six parents. I was raised in a house where being teased is a sign of affection. My family is very affectionate. You learn to laugh at yourself or, well, you just better learn to laugh.
PONYBOY MAGAZINE: How did you get into playing music and singing?
MARY SIMICH: One note at a time. I was surrounded by older siblings, all with varied musical tastes. I listened to all different genres of music growing up and learned to appreciate all different kinds of music. My older sister accompanied the congregation at church on Sundays and my brothers were always in a rock-n-roll band. I was no stranger to participating in music. At the age of seven my mother put me in piano lessons. I begged her to stop under the condition that I would continue to play the piano. I continued to play the piano and at twelve my parents got me a guitar for Christmas. I picked around on it, but never really played it too much. It wasn’t until fourteen when my dad became ill that I really began to play guitar. I started writing music all of the time! I wrote tons of music and became fearful that I would forget all that I had written so I began making really simple recordings of the songs. When playing back the recordings I was able to hear for myself how awful my voice was. I was not a natural born talent by any means. I always wrote thinking that maybe one day somebody would sing my songs—never did I think that it would be me. Practice made me better but far, far from perfect. One night some friends were having a little jam session at a party and they asked me to sit in. I thought that meant play guitar with them, but right then and there they put me on the spot to sing in front of everyone! The old jazz standard Ain’t Misbehavin’ was the first song I sang out loud for a room full of strangers. Even right now reading this response back to my mother, she said, “You were a terrible little singer!” She was a fan then; I think she means it now.
PONYBOY MAGAZINE: Currently you are a student. Tell us what daily college life is like for you. Where do you attend school and what are you studying?
MARY SIMICH: Ponyboy! Alice Cooper and I would like to inform you that “SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER!!!” The last week has been full of beach camping, hiking, snorkeling on Catalina Island, sailing, surfing and all kinds of fun! But come autumn, I go back to studying music and transfer to a University in the spring.
PONYBOY MAGAZINE: You’re on the Wild Records label. How did Reb Kennedy discover you?
MARY SIMICH: In a dark alleyway one night in Burbank, CA–seriously. I had heard he was holding auditions and thought to myself, I really have nothing to lose at all. I was drawn to Wild Records because I saw their artists traveling a lot. I thought maybe the songs I had written could be my ticket to places I had never seen before. I wasn’t really planning on doing much with my music at that point, except maybe sell songs I had written to other artists. But I thought I should at least try. I knew that I wasn’t really like anything else on Wild, so I thought the audition would be chalked up to nothing more than just a good experience. I was hesitant to go to the audition seeing as how it was being held at a practice space in an industrial area in Burbank, CA. So, I brought one of those older brothers with me. Turned out they were nice folks and I had nothing to worry about!
PONYBOY MAGAZINE: You’re not the expected Wild Records act. What’s it like being on the label?
MARY SIMICH: We have a lot of fun and the label mates are very supportive of me! I feel like I am the exception to the rule when it comes to Wild! We have a joke going that I am actually on the made-up offshoot of Wild Records called Mild Records. I do not drink, I do not lie on the floor, I do not scream, I do not hoop and or holler, but I still manage to have a great time with all of those crazy kids!
PONYBOY MAGAZINE: We saw you play at Viva Las Vegas and liken you to a modern day chanteuse. We love your beautiful voice!
MARY SIMICH: Aww, thanks for coming! It still surprises me that people show up to come see me play! I’m surrounded by the nicest folks!
PONYBOY MAGAZINE: We think in twenty years you’ll be performing in beautiful sequin gowns in fancy nightclubs. Ha! Do you see yourself still on stage in twenty years?
MARY SIMICH: Hahaha! That is the only way I see myself performing in twenty years! In twenty years I would still love to be performing because there is something so raw about getting a reaction from an audience over songs you have written. However, I would love to perform at my leisure, and have the bulk of my work come from scoring films. I have always been interested in writing and scoring. Music can so drastically change our interpretation of what we see and how we feel. I think it would be so neat to be able to enhance a visual experience by creating the right sound for a scene. Music is so powerful.
PONYBOY MAGAZINE: We love your personal style. Tell us about your brother who makes all of your fabulous stage wear.
MARY SIMICH: My brother Chris (aka Mr. Tiny) is ultra talented in every way. He cooks, he sews, he draws, he dances, he sings (way better than I do), he is incredibly thoughtful and he is hilarious. He just oozes creativity. His talent seems to know no bounds. He designs and makes the majority of my clothing. He is a huge reason why I am the way I am. He taught me to appreciate beautiful thing and he would always include me in trips to the museum, the theater, art exhibits, and stops at old abandoned buildings. He taught me that silly is also beautiful. And I learned to appreciate things that were a bit goofy. After years of living what he has coined the “Wacky Tacky Lifestyle,” he now writes a lifestyle blog called “Wacky Tacky” where he documents the neat roadside things we find, the funny outfits that he creates, our music, the delicious and goofy food he makes—really, just all things Wacky Tacky. I am grateful for his influence in my life and grateful that I get to sing with him in our brother-sister harmony act called “Tiny & Mary.”
PONYBOY MAGAZINE: You wear clothing so well with that long lean model type body. We met your boyfriend at Viva and he has model good looks as well. He performed with you on stage. Is he now part of the Marcy Simich Experience?
MARY SIMICH: Am I a whole Experience? Wow! We both have multiple musical projects of our own to keep us busy, but who knows what the future holds. We always have a good time while playing together and I am sure we will grace the stage together as a team again sometime.
PONYBOY MAGAZINE: Whom would you say your musical and style icons are?
MARY SIMICH: Oh my, what an exciting question! Right off the bat, I’d say Julie London and Tim Morgonare are my icons. Julie London sings a song called ‘Saddle the Wind’. It has become my family’s anthem, and has become a signature song to perform for Tiny & Mary. There is something so rich and lovely and sexy and powerful about her voice. With regards to Tim Morgon, I will say this, “I LOVE California. I love the beach. I love to be outside. I love the sun. I love swimming. I love bonfires. I love teenage Beach Blanket Bingo-esque romance–and Tim Morgon is just that.” I mentioned before that music can be incredibly powerful, and Tim Morgon was the soundtrack to some big moments in my life. Another artist who I try to emulate is Roy Orbison. I like that he is a little bit rock-n-roll, but more than anything he is dreamy. I am drawn to very ethereal music and Roy Orbison is just that. As for style, I have always appreciated the glamorous movie stars at home, or at the ranch, or on vacation. I like the designs of Edith Head. They are simple, sophisticated and highly dramatic, and all the while accentuating the female form.