Episode 157: Fergheart
Air date: 4.6.2016
Fergheart’s Craig Ferguson is an accomplished musician with well over a thousand gigs to his credit. He leads an award-winning bluegrass ensemble, has spent seven years backing roots music mashup master Cliff Wagner, has numerous performance credits on live television and over fifty placements on film and TV. Through innate talent and hard work, Ferguson has established himself as a go-to player in Los Angeles and beyond. But the hustle of a new-millennium career in music can take its toll, and Ferguson recently found himself suffering from a bit of technophobia, as the constant din of the Internet became more of a bane than a benefit. So he turned once again to music, forming Fergheart to provide an ensemble to showcase his own laid-back brand of breezy, soulful folk music. In Fergheart, Ferguson slows down the frenetic modern pace and uses songs as time machines to glide back to a simpler time when humans played real instruments on well-crafted songs with ambling tempos and hummable melodies. When Ferguson needed players to make Fergheart live and breathe, he called ace musicians like David Sutton and Butch Norton, who, aside from comprising the instrumental band Buick 6, are most famous for backing up alt-country journeywoman Lucinda Williams. Ferguson’s voice is an easy baritone, and he deploys it on melodies that exist like a sculpture in the framework of his compositions – with everything not essential to the song stripped deftly away. But it’s Ferguson’s guitar playing that speaks most clearly to the simpler sound for which he was searching – on his vinyl EP, My Retro Weekend, he coaxes warm, tremolo-drenched tones out of his vintage Gibson hollow body guitar that should provide a welcome anodyne in this hyper-connected world.