By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - Although Jesse Ferguson shifted from his Celtic beginnings, the Cornwall native has returned to his roots in his latest album, The Butcher Boy.
Ferguson's sturdy Internet following and traditional music fans will be pleased to hear his fourth album offers 11-tracks that embrace traditional folk music from Ireland, Scotland, England, and America.
"This one is quite different from my last album, SHIFT, which contained only songs written by me," said Ferguson. "With The Butcher Boy, I’m returning to my roots in folk music."
The singer/songwriter/poet is quickly evolving from being an exclusively Celtic (Irish/Scottish) performer to a well-rounded folk musician.
"My attitude now is that if it’s a good traditional song, then I’ll play it," he said.
Ferguson's latest Celtic/folk CD doesn’t have any specific theme, other than that he's been obsessed with this group of songs for a while now.
"I have a habit of becoming fixated on a given song, and I can only move on to another once I’ve learned and recorded the last one," he said. "It’s sometimes a curse, but it does result in learning a lot of great songs."
Tracks include The Butcher Boy, Mary and the Soldier, The Amsterdam Maid, Planxty Fanny Power, Arthur McBride, The Ballad of Jesse James, She Walks in Beauty, The Irish Rover, My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, The Blackleg Miner, and Byker Hill.
Ferguson, known as the Bard of Cornwall, admitted he loves modern music (rock, pop, etc.), and he always will, but he still believes that there's a need for traditional music.
"The record industry has a short memory, and it’s only interested in promoting new product," said Ferguson. "To me, folk music is still relevant because the basic subjects it discusses—love, lust, grief, death—are still with us as much as they were hundreds of years ago."
He plays a multitude of instruments in his new project including mandolin, glockenspiel, acoustic guitar, tambourine, and the bodhran (Irish frame drum), to name a few. Ferguson also vocalized all the songs, and produced, and mastered the album.
His approach to performing Celtic/folk music was formed by local Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry bands like Haggis, Salty Dog, Hadrian’s Wall, and The Glengarry Bhoys back in his teens and during his university years.
"Those bands made the music their own, updating it with modern rock and pop influences, and I try to do the same in my work," he said. "I likely wouldn’t be performing folk music today if not for hearing those bands in Cornwall and at the Glengarry Highland Games."
Ferguson currently lives in Cape Breton with his wife and high school sweetheart, Laura, and their son, Brennan.
Visit CDbaby.com, Amazon mp3.com. or iTunes to purchase The Butcher Boy and other Jesse Ferguson projects. Visit www.jessefergusonmusic.com to get more information.