Artist Spotlight: Bryan McPherson- Wedgewood

By @KralTunes

Given the choice between C-SPAN or WWE Raw and most people will choose to watch chair shots to the head instead of public policy talk.

Bryan McPherson is the rare exception. And he thinks these broadcasts are interchangeable. He told KralTunes, “These people are characters who talk all kinds of trash and all kinds of game but at the end of the day they are actors and the fix is in and they go have drinks with each other and laugh about it.”

Unknown-1Calling Out the Bullshit

This is the kind of analogy that folk-punk troubadour Bryan McPherson weaves throughout his lyrics and you expect to hear more in his third release, Wedgewood, due June 10th.  Fusing the styles of Bob Dylan, Ani DiFranco and the Sex Pistols, Bryan tells compelling stories about society and everyday frustrations, all through a fusion of Americana, folk, alternative, and punk music. “I just express what Is going on inside me in some way or another. There is happy music and there is sad music. If someone wants to lighten the load there is plenty of shitty pop music out there to choose from.”

Wedgewood is filled with these type of stories, including his experience at the Occupy Oakland protests in 2011, where McPherson recalls instinctively picking up his guitar and heading down to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.  While he was there, he said that he witnessed what became known as ‘Teargas Tuesday’ on October 25 when protestors attempted to retake an encampment outside the city hall. According to McPherson, the police met the protestors with a great deal of teargas and he said, “That’s when I started to notice that the police looked an awful lot like the military, like storm troopers, tanks, black SWAT gear, and all of these sort of sci-fi weaponry.”

Album cut “Here We Go” encapsulates McPherson’s response to the protests;

The government wants the internet,

Iran wants the bomb,
Our senators are the Hitlers,
‘Cause they’ll lock us all away,,
Bill of Rights burnt up right
AmeriKa,
M.I.A.

 

 

Aside from societal woes, McPherson is not afraid to put personal trials into his work. In “Hearts In Boxcars“, McPherson expresses the difficulty of a couple moving their separate ways, while “Burn It Down” illustrates how the  personal struggle with anger can either be used to fuel ones determination or devour its host in flames.

Off the Grid

McPherson stepped off the grid to record Wedgewood. Cut off from cell and internet service, he and a few crew members worked in a hut on the old Arrowhead mine in California. The rugged, isolated setting helped shape the sound of this new collection; Bryan went even as far as to name the album after the brand of the stove in the hut: Wedgewood.

Contrasting the album’s creation, Bryan turned to a more modern method to fund the album’s production; Kickstarter. Fortunately, the entire budget was fully funded in less than a week. This humbling achievement is not lost on the artist. “My mind was blown when it was hit in just a few days. I don’t want to give the impression that you can just throw a campaign up and get a bunch of money, but if you are giving it your all out there on the road and doing your best to make records and stuff then people will get behind you. I still find it incredible.”

Of course, such a feat does not go without some enticement, as several ‘backer rewards’ were offered to fans. People quickly snatched up the incentives such as living room concerts and early access to all future recordings.  With everything on the auction block, McPherson said, “It is a little nerve-racking to think of what people might expect, like I hope they LIKE the record. This campaign went up with only 2 small samples of songs on the record so still amazing. I put the high dollar contributions on there because hey, someone might be down to do that. But again at the same time its like Holy shit this is intense!  I’m also glad I don’t have to carve 150 sticks of wood as well!”

Off the Stage

An emotive performer, Bryan McPherson is not afraid to proudly display his heart on his sleeve. Such intensity can leave this artist completely exhausted at the conclusion of a tour. Although daunting, he is fully aware of the expectations, “Some nights I have to dig deep, but I always dig. Always. If you came to hear me sing and spent your hard-earned money, then you are going to get everything I have.”

Of course, being an open and honest musician can have more public drawbacks, especially when you are scheduled to play in a venue owned by the “happiest place on Earth.”

Slotted to open for the Dropkick Murphy’s this past fall, McPherson received the unfortunate news that the Anaheim House of Blues (Disney operated) would not allow him to perform on their stage.  The reason, according to Bryan, was his “anti-political police views and drug insinuations.”  McPherson said, “At first I was a bit outraged and then I was flattered that they went and listened to all of my music. Then I was even more flattered that I was the punkest, most dangerous person on the bill that night. 🙂 Really though, I have never been a fan of what Disney does…even as a child.”  While Such notoriety only elevated him to Stone Cold Steve Austin-badass mode in the punk folk music scene.

On the bright side, he was paid for his ‘performance’, and was offered free tickets to the theme park.  McPherson’s reaction…

“I did not oblige.”

Unknown
Album Cover

 

WEDGEWOOD, via O.F.D. Records, comes out June 10.

See BRYAN McPHERSON Here:

JUN 11     Matthews Pub                                               Portland, ME

JUN 12     The Midway Cafe                                           Boston, MA

JUN 13     Map Room at Bowery Electric                       New York, NY

JUN 14     Russo Music                                                 Asbury Park, NJ
JUN 16     Kung Fu Necktie                                           Philadelphia, PA
JUN 17     The Court Tavern                                          New Brunswick, NJ
JUN 18     The Mill Hill Basement                                  Trenton, NJ
JUN 19     Gorham Brother Music                                 Syracuse, NY
JUN 20     The Barn                                                      Oswego, NY
JUN 24     Newport Thompson House                          Newport, KY
JUN 25     Sabbatical                                                    Indianapolis, IN
JUN 26     The Waiting Room                                        St Ann, MO
JUN 27     Reggies Rock Club                                       Chicago, IL
JUN 28     Money Wolf HQ                                            Kansas City, MO
JUN 29     Gust Gullie                                                    Laramie, WY
JUN 30     Forge Pub                                                    Fort Collins, CO
JUL 1       The Garage On Beck                                    Salt Lake City, UT
JUL 2       The Colfax Theater                                       Colfax, CA
JUL 3       The Crepe Place                                           Santa Cruz, CA
JUL 5       The Night Light                                             Oakland, CA

 

Find BRYAN McPHERSON Here:

Official Page         Facebook           Bandcamp            Twitter            Instagram

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