JD McPherson’s Undivided Heart & Soul is out now on New West Records in partnership with Dine Alone Records and available on vinyl, compact disc, and digital format. Co-produced by McPherson and Dan Molad (Lucius, Here We Go Magic) and recorded at the Historic RCA Studio B* in Nashville, TN, Undivided Heart & Soul is McPherson’s first studio album in nearly three years and follows his critically acclaimed Let The Good Times Roll (2015). The highly anticipated new album released October 6, 2017 and debuted on Billboard’s Top 200 chart – reaching #1 for Top New Artist Albums and Americana/Folk Albums, as well as #4 for Top Independent Overall Albums, #5 for LP/Vinyl Albums, #27 for Top Current Albums, and #44 for Overall Digital.
JD McPherson has said the process of making this album pushed him hard. That’s a good thing; he’s crossing some new lines on the highway.” Directed by George Salisbury (Flaming Lips, Nathaniel Rateliff), the video depicts McPherson and his band performing the song at RCA Studio B in Nashville, TN and can be seen HERE. The legendary studio was fundamental to the creation of the “Nashville Sound,” and its influence on the creation of Undivided Heart & Soul was insurmountable as well. The ghosts of some of the greatest songs in history live within its walls: Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” among them. Since the facility is a working museum by day and offers public tours, the entirety of McPherson’s workspace during recording had to be reset at night: Loading in all equipment in the late afternoon after the final tour was completed and working through the night.
The resulting, soul-baring album is a snapshot of McPherson’s creative process bringing the record to life, a journey filled with fear and change, then boldness, and, eventually catharsis. Undivided Heart & Soul features collaborations with Parker Millsap, Butch Walker, and Aaron Lee Tasjan. In addition to his longtime band members Doug Corcoran on guitar, Raynier Jacob Jacildo on keys, Jimmy Sutton on bass, and Jason Smay on drums, the album also features guest appearances by Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs, Greenhornes), Jess Wolfe & Holly Laessig of Lucius, and Nicole Atkins. Prior to writing and recording the new album, McPherson moved his family from their longtime home of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma to the burgeoning artist community of East Nashville, TN, which gave him the opportunity to collaborate with this eclectic array of artists. The move had a profound influence on his new work, and McPherson began to experiment, exploring personal themes and injecting more of himself into his songs (including a co-write on the album with his wife Mandy). Opening up his process was no easy task. “I was having nightmares every night, thinking, ‘Wow, they’re going to hate this.” With a group of songs taking shape, McPherson and crew scheduled studio time to begin work on the album. After initial tracking began, it quickly became apparent that the sessions were not going to work, bringing his momentum to a halt. At the invitation of his friend and longtime supporter Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, who was also recording at the time, McPherson, Homme, and his Queens bandmate Dean Fertita jammed together over a weekend in Los Angeles. They played around with some songs, with Homme pushing McPherson outside of his comfort zone in a no-stakes environment. McPherson calls the getaway “the most fun I’ve had since I was 15 years old” and returned to Nashville with a clear head, internal filters successfully stifled, and ready to move forward with a new co-producer in Dan Molad.
During the album closer, “Let’s Get Out Of Here While We’re Young,” McPherson sputters “We’ve worn out all the songs we’ve sung.” This is not a statement McPherson takes lightly. “This record was difficult for me to make, difficult to write, difficult to record. It took a lot for me to say that I can’t force these songs to be the way people are expecting.” McPherson says. Undivided Heart & Soul is statement record, one that asserts McPherson as he is now, battle-weary but stronger than ever.