The Northbound drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, as the sun set to the West and the nearly full moon beamed like a spotlight to the East, set the mood for a relaxed and cheerful celebration of the life and music of Bay Area musician: Jim McPherson.
McPherson, a blues inspired musician raised in Chicago, passed away in 1985 after a spending over 15 years in the San Francisco Bay area creating music. Although his music never gained wide popularity, it is still renowned by local musicians "in the know" as important. Family, friends, musicians and other acquaintances packed the theatre at 142 Throckmorton in Mill Valley as some of McPherson’s former band mates performed a small array of his songs.. McPherson’s wife Evy hosted the event, saying that it was a part of a promise she kept to her husband almost 25 years ago, as he lost his battle to illness, that she would make sure his music was not forgotten. The event marks the release of an album of his unpublished work, which was organized and produced by Evy and is appropriately titled A Promise Kept.
The first set was notably earlier music with a blues rock influence, much in the same vein as another guitarist inspired by the Chicago Blues: Eric Clapton. With a five piece arrangement of piano, bass guitar, drums and excellent dual guitar interplay, the band recreated McPherson’s lick heavy blues rock with fervor. Admittedly, none of the music was familiar, but all of it sounded very indicative of the time and place it was created and, perhaps with the right luck, could have become some of the legendary hits that everyone still associates with classic rock. The band quickly grew comfortable on the stage as the energy accelerated. Fans and friends yelled out requests and jokes and the band responded with stories about the young McPherson’s talent, work ethic and antics.
After a short break, the second set added the aid of a baritone and tenor saxophone a different guitarist and four back up singers. This began the tour of McPherson’s later, more mature works. These works feature a smoother sound, leaning away from the rock base that he worked with in his earlier music, containing more intricate melodies and harmonies. Despite the venue being seated, many fans danced in the back during both sets, reliving the memories of these songs performed by the man himself.
More information on Jim McPherson including his biography, discography, pictures and the recently released A Promise Kept can be found at www.jimmcpherson.net.