In conversation, Bryan McPherson is soft-spoken and understated, even a bit reserved.
Give him a guitar, a mic and a stage - or a few tiles of MBTA platform - and he's a house afire.
The 30 year-old singer-songwriter &endash; whose latest CD project was launched at a release party earlier this month &endash; spends much of his time lighting up the clubs and coffee houses on the other end of the Red Line. McPherson's lyrics, however, capture the street-corner sensibilities of his native neighborhood, which he spotlights in a new song, "O.F.D."
McPherson grew up on King Street and spent his childhood playing man-hunt and wiffle ball through the three-decker canyons on the slopes of Pope's Hill. Even before he graduated from Saint Mark's Grammar School in 1992, he had discovered a love for making music.
"I started playing keyboards when I was seven or eight years old," McPherson remembers. "I remember I was always making up my own stuff, because I hated practicing scales."
As a teenager, attending BC High, Archbishop Williams and finally Another Course to College, McPherson's antenna was tuned to one station: punk rock.
"Back in the day, everything else was a waste of my time," he says.
McPherson started playing semi-professionally in 2001. As he discusses on his website, his first steps into the music business came at a time of turmoil in his personal life.
"Basically I was strung out on dope. At the same time that my life was falling apart, I started writing songs. I eventually began performing at Club Passim at the open mic night and an art gallery in Cambridge called Out of the Blue , as well as the usual street corners and parties in Dorchester," McPherson wrote.
After a hiatus to get clean, McPherson returned to live performances in 2003 and hooked up with an independent label, Indecent Music, which has backed his latest release, Fourteen Stories.
One of the 14, O.F.D., started innocently as a one-verse idea. Tinkering with the song during a gig in Jamaica Plain, the song matured into a anthemn.
"I don't write intentionally," McPherson says. "I was playing in a show in Jamaica Plain and I'd written one part of this song, 'O.F.D.' A few of my good friends from growing up were there and it just kind of came together," he says.
The piece includes a chorus line that pretty well sums up the sentiment behind the familiar yellow bumper sticker: "Now matter where I go, now mattter where I'll be, I'm always O.F.D.," McPherson sings.
Now living in the Boston Street area, McPherson is rediscovering his native neighborhood from a new vantage point. He works as a laborer and landscaper when he's not booking gigs, most of them in New York's East Village and Cambridge.
You can check for his next performance- and take a listen at some of his latest songs, including "O.F.D," at his website, http://www.myspace.com/bryanmcpherson