Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, JD was influenced by local bands like Tower of Power, The Sons of Champlin and solo artists like Boz Scaggs. What differentiated his musical perspective and style was his growing interest in singer-songwriters like Jackson Browne and Henley & Frey of the Eagles. When J.D. began playing clubs in and around the south bay, it was like watching someone cook gumbo every night. Sets mixed a blend of his originals, Van Morrison, Little Feat, Jimmy Buffett and the likes of the Flying Burrito Brothers. "You never knew what to expect next, and that was part of the fun of it all," explains J.D. Married with four children, currently J.D. resides in the Washington DC area. Pederson laughs, "my troubadour days may be behind me, but I can still cook up a pretty mean gumbo."
Recent Critical Review(s)
It Seems Like Only Yesterday
Reviewed by Music Critic Andrew Greenhalgh
4 Stars out of Five
While the radio waves of today celebrate the latest and the greatest and the hit makers seem to be getting younger and younger, it’s refreshing to run into an artist that reminds us that the best of things in life come to those who work hard and wait. Such is the case with longtime San Francisco troubadour JD Pederson. Pederson has spent years honing his sound and his chops playing club after club, mixing “a blend of his originals, Van Morrison, Little Feat, Jimmy Buffett and the likes of the Flying Burrito Brothers.” And even though Pederson claims that his troubadour days are over, in his own words, “I can still cook up a pretty mean gumbo."
The artist’s latest release, It Seems Like Only Yesterday, is just such a pot of mish-mashed goodness. Sampling elements of rock n’ roll, soul, funk, country, and blues, Pederson and Co. put together a spicy bowl of fun and frolic that sets just right with any fan of good music. And while much credit does go to Pederson, who plays virtually everything on the album, managing vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion, harmonica, and stringed instruments, he also receives some solid support from friend and former Firefall founder, Larry Burnett (vocals, backing vocals).
The album kicks off with the breezy blues of “We Go Way Back,” written as a tribute to one of Pederson’s favorite bands, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack. Fueled with soulful horns and great guitars, it’s a solid start. “My Favorite Sunset” takes things down a Caribbean country route reminiscent of Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney while Burnett and Pederson trade vocals on the Burnett penned “Learn the Dance.” Likewise, “Believe” comes across a bit more country with its mid-tempo bar room vibe and Pederson’s warm drawl.
“Call Me” delivers the most low-key track on the record with it’s tale of unforgiveness and sorrow while “Kiss and Tell” and it’s Santana-inspired guitar work return things to a more upbeat place. “Welcome to the Party” keeps the ball rolling with a straight up blues jam that finds Pederson right at home. With his vocal prowess matching his musical moxie, the result is one of the album’s key gems. “No Good For You” taps into the blues party and fills out this keen little trifecta of soulful guitar and wailing sounds.
“Peace of Mind” features a percussion-heavy funk and one of this album’s greatest lines (“Girl, turn off the headlights/I don’t want to see where I’m going/and what lie ahead of me”) yet album closer’s “The Sound of Goodbye” and “Headed Home” fall flat. Perhaps it’s simply the juxtaposition of hot blues licks to the more subdued tones that these final tracks present but their laid-back near country seem at harsh contrast with the rest of the record.
It’s impossible to listen to JD Pederson’s It Seems Like Only Yesterday and not hear the years of experience within, both musically and personally. A man does not come by this amazing skill (did I mention that he plays virtually every instrument on the album?) nor the passion that the blues demand without having lived it out intimately. And that experience, one may very well say, has definitely made Pederson a fine artist and a better man. Despite a few simple flaws, this is an album worth listening to and then listening to again.