Born and raised in Bristol England, Fergusson did not come from a folk loving family, or even particularly music loving family. (This is not the usual preamble for most artists I know, but let’s be honest, how many of these things start out the same way – the son/daughter of noted musician blah blah) instead, Fergusson rather stumbled upon the transformative qualities of self-expression, that all musicians, if fortunate, discover for themselves. An old ¾ size classical guitar left in a corner of a damp ridden bedroom, wrongly stringed with steel strings long-turned rusty, became at once his solace/teacher and inspiration.
After years of study in classical and contemporary genres of the instrument, and many years of playing in rock bands with little commercial success, mostly in Australia, Fergusson became convinced of the superior expressive qualities of the acoustic instrument. The world did not need any-more guitar heroes, strip the thing back to its roots and tell a real story instead!
A solid introduction into the modern folk world in the late 90’s was eagerly accepted when Fergusson joined the Australian folk group, the Creel. This was his first opportunity to experiment with the Irish Bouzouki, an instrument which has become almost a signature of his work. Many festivals/gigs around the country and sadly just the one album recorded, the Creel, despite much success, was disbanded untimely by its founder early in 2000. Fortunately, Fergusson had already started a music school in the Blue Mountains of NSW, which proved successful, but after the promise folk stardom being firmly stopped with the demise of the Creel, Fergusson did not play live again for eight years.
After passing on the school of music into new hands, the old lure of the strings returned, and in 2007 Fergusson wrote and recorded his first solo album – Sam, an early attempt to blend the modern solo songwriter with the increasingly broad folk genre. Perhaps not surprisingly, the material, both live and recorded, was received with mixed reception. For many in the folk world like their folk music quite traditional, and the Irish Bouzouki to be nicely in the background. But it also became increasingly apparent, that audiences not necessarily fond or familiar with traditional folk music, responded most keenly to this new instrument and new sound. Fergusson soon increased his live performances with the use of loops and stompbox to create a fuller sound, and negating the necessity of having other band members to reproduce songs heard on the Sam album.
In mid 2008 encouraged by modern audiences, Fergusson decided to tour the Sam album off his own back throughout the UK despite having no idea how to do so. An 18 month adventure ensued, living in an old motorhome, and knocking on doors for gigs, Fergusson managed to survive from playing wherever and whenever and selling cds. From inverness to Cornwall, and from Norwich to the Forest of Dean, he plied his trade like some medieval itinerant craftsman. Two freezing winters in a row were enough however, and he returned to Australia in 2010 with the intention of recording the difficult second album.
Well, that didn’t happen alas and a scarcity of paid gigs in Australia, convinced Fergusson to return to England to record and get back on that road. 2012 was spent writing, recording and more writing and recording, so much so that by the end of the year 2 new albums were finished – The Beginnings of Edward Mckilroy and The Gin Diaries. Both albums using loops and stompbox sounds, guitars and of course the Irish Bouzouki (Molly) whilst being blends of modern songwriting and folk tunes/storytelling, each also included 2 covers – Whiskey in the Jar, Leaving of Liverpool, Courting is a pleasure and Robert Palmer’s Johnny and Mary.
And then… well it was time to get back on the road armed with the 2 new albums and travelling in a bigger and more comfortable motorhome.