Musician Pat Ferguson, has history in La Crosse, from college to playing in the local music scene, from there he moved to Madison, WI to work on his songwriting and he released his first album Light of Day/Dark as Night in 2018. We chat about his sophomore solo LP, and what’s next for this upcoming artist.
Pat Ferguson Transcript
Amy Gabay 00:48
Musician Pat Ferguson has history in lacrosse, from college to playing in the local music scene. From there he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and worked on his songwriting and released his first album, Light of Day /Dark as Night in 2018. We chat about his sophomore solo LP, and what’s next for this upcoming artists. You can find more conversations on our website, lacrosselocal.com. I’m Amy. And I’m Brent. And this is La Crosse Local.
Pat Ferguson 01:16
My name is Pat Ferguson. I was born in Houston, Texas actually lived there for the first part of my childhood. But then raised in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, from there, musically speaking, we always had music in the house. My dad was a big country music fan, old school country music fan, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams. But then he also loved the Beatles and The Eagles and a bunch of the bands that came up in the 60s and 70s. So introduced to it at a very, very early age. I picked up the guitar when I was 12. I think if I remember correctly, so yeah, fraid rest is history, from there I guess.
Brent Hanifl 01:55
I’ve known you from your time in La Crosse. You went to school here. I believe you were a big part of the music scene for a while. Can you give us a rundown of your time spent in the Coulee Region?
Pat Ferguson 02:05
Sure. Yeah, I lived there for seven years, went to school, formed a band with my brother, Christian Staley called the Smokin’ Bandits. And we did some pretty extensive touring from 2003 to 2007, something like that. I finished college and stuck around La Crosse for a little bit. My wife and I were married. And we met in La Crosse, and were married while we still lived there and hung around for a couple years after school while we were still parading around with that band of Yahoo’s in the Bandits, and then moved to Madison from there. But still with very close ties to La Crosse. I mean, I find myself venturing back quite often. And the Bandits were still playing quite a bit. We still have such close ties there. But yeah, our time there was, was incredible. It really was, I mean, from the we have it. It’s interesting, we have multiple phases of our life there, right, we have the college phase, where we have a whole group of friends, it all kind of shifted and moved away. But because of music and what we were doing in La Crosse, we stayed and that introduced a whole new set of friends who are more, I think, you consider them more to be locals, you know, be the people who are born and raised there, or who lived there, move there and are living there permanently, or very close to and very much a part of that scene too. So it’s, we feel super blessed to have spent the time that we did there and have the connections we do to the Coulee Region. It’s a wonderful place. We love it.
Brent Hanifl 03:27
So now as you stated, you know you moved on, and it seems like you kind of expanded on your songwriting catalogue. I believe you were just kind of singing backup, singing a few songs in the Smokin’ Bandits. I guess your first album Light of Day, Dark of Night? How did that album all come about?
Yeah. So when we moved to Madison, and the touring slowed down, was right when we, my wife was pregnant with our first daughter. And that was about 2011, 2012, something like that. And so I had kind of semi-retired from the road at least not being on as much as I had been in the past. I started a residency just playing once a week at a hotel in Madison called Hotel Red, and started that in August or September of 2012. And that just became the mainstay of what I do. I mean, I’d still go out and play. Venture out and venture down the road every once in a while but not nearly as much. And that became just kind of a safe haven for me, as a place where I could try out new material and really just midweek release as an early Father, you know, early time as a father and, and whatnot, it was nice to have that and the material for the record just started to come. I mean, it took a while, you know, a few years, but then all of a sudden it really felt like there was something there. And I had played a couple of the songs for Adam Greuel who’s an old friend of ours and the guitars for Horseshoes and Hand Grenades. And he was eager to get into producing so he said, Well, what if we took this and made an album and I’ll produce it and we’ll get some friends involved and we’ll do this whole thing. And so it was a very slow process. We started recording, really started recording the full record in 2016, or into 2015 into 2016. And then it released in 2018. I mean, I was in really no rush to do it. It all came together really nicely. We ended up getting a lot of really fun folks involved. Yeah. And that led to a couple of years of pretty intense touring for me, which was something I hadn’t been used to in a while, but was Yeah, it went really, really well. We’re really proud of it.
Brent Hanifl 05:27
You know, that kind of snowballed into your sophomore solo LP that’s coming out here. What is the process with releasing something like that? Was that recorded in a large part during this COVID this past 10 months? Or was it before that?
Pat Ferguson 05:39
It was, it actually just shy of it? So we we went in, I had met Tim Carbone, who’s renowned producer and he’s a fiddler for a band called Railroad Earth, who I’m a huge fan of, Railroad Earth and have been for a long time. And I met Tim because my first record Light of Day, Dark of Night was released on LoHi Records of which Chad Staley, who I know you know, Chad, he’s a part of that record label as is Tim and Todd Snyder was one of the founders, I think, and there’s a nice group there. And anyway, Tim and I were introduced to each other. And we became pretty fast friends. My wife and I were out east for wedding, a good buddy of mine lives like 10 minutes for Tim and his wife in far eastern Pennsylvania. And we’re out there and we spent a day with Tim and he gave us a tour of his kind of home studio. And it was really in a pretty thick time for us. It was an amazing day that we had within there and walked away and kind of staked my claim and said that’s where I’m recording my next record. And that was in that was the end of 2018. And then in December 2019. We assembled all this fun group of musicians and went out there and spent a week recording, you know, with plans to release it sometime in 2020. And then everything kind of derailed. So to answer your question where that was actually kind of the impetus behind this other single is that Tim and I and Elliott Peck who’s from the Midnight North and she also sings with Phil Lesh from the Grateful Dead and one of his bands, she is on the full record and recorded with us while we were out there. And the song, this new single, The Confidence Man kind of came up I started working on it, got them involved, we collaborated on it, and with the unknown of what it was we’re going to or when it will be that we’re going to get this other record out. We just thought we know this tune is really it’s pretty meaningful. It’s pretty pertinent to the times right now.
Pat Ferguson 07:41
Personally and politically, societally, whatever you want to, whatever you want to say, socially, we actually got the the final mixes for it. But we recorded all in our home studio. So I did my part in my little studio here. Tim did his at his studio, and Elliott did hers in her studio. And then we put it all together. And we actually got the final mixes on the morning of the of the insurrection at the US capital, kind of eerie how it all came together there. And then we said, you know, we should just get this thing out there. And for me, going back to your question about how do you release in this, in this timeframe, with a record still being a pretty big unknown. And knowing we do want to do it some way shape or form this year, it was a perfect vehicle for us just to get some new, some new music out there. And some we feel pertinent music to the times out there as a means to bridge the gap. So it’s been good. There’s still a lot of unknowns with the full record, but we’re working on it. There are a lot of conversations in flight right now. And we’re really excited about it. It’s all done. It’s ready to cut, it’s ready to go. It’s just a matter of when at this point.
Brent Hanifl 09:03
What was it like recording with these different individuals? That sounds like they’re in some ways, kind of your your heroes? Did it automatically start to make sense when you started talking to these folks? Or was it something that kind of grew into.
Pat Ferguson 09:15
Yeah, it was it was a humbling experience, to say the least. Honestly, I mean, Tim, getting to know him pretty well, upfront really helped. I think my mentality going into it. It was also really the first time that I, regardless of who is involved, it’s really the first time that I was going into a recording experience of my own material, where it was you have from this day to this day, and we’re going to get everything done. And we’re going to get everybody in here and out of here, and Tim is just a masterful producer and the way that he organized the whole thing and helped to bring it all together, along with the folks that I was able to bring to the table as well. It was a process but the first day I walked into the studio, I’ll never forget it. I walked in and Tim said okay, so your station is gonna be in this room, the studio is like this old hotel. So it’s very fragmented all the rooms, you know, it’s not like a big open studio. It’s like the third floor of the hotel, this beautiful old hotel. And he said, so your rooms gonna be over here. And I was sitting right face to face basically through these French doors with Carey Harmon who’s the Railroad Earth drummer and been known to be one of the best bluegrass drummers in the world, and somebody I’ve been watching for a long time. And, you know, he and I were deadlocked for five days in getting all this stuff laid down. And so it was, I almost didn’t have time to have it be as surreal as I think it was, in retrospect, when I got through it, and bringing in somebody like Elliott, who is just such a wonderful person on top of an amazing musician and the people that she’s involved with and singing with being Phil Lesh and his son Graham, who she formed the Midnight Northwest and whatnot. In the moment, it was productive, and it was magical. And it was awesome. When I got through it and looked back on it, it was like holy cow. You know, it’s kind of, it was a, it was a pretty humbling experience. But they’ve all become really close friends now. And then Tim and Elliot, and I released that single, as I’ve mentioned, and we’re actually going to plan on doing some trio touring together when pandemic lifts, which is going to be awesome. So really, some really cool things that came out of it. And I’m very fortunate and feel really good about where things are at for sure.
Brent Hanifl 11:26
You kind of mentioned that things are up in the air. But is there anything particular that’s coming down the road that you’re excited about? Or maybe even the end of 2021?
Pat Ferguson 11:34
It is this record, honestly, it’s in the tank. I talked as if it was totally up in the air. But I mean, as I mentioned, the record is done. We have all the final mixes, and we are planning the release and involved in the record, of course is Tim as the producer and Carey who I mentioned, but Mike Robinson, who also plays with Rare earth, he’s their multi-instrumentalist. He’s on the record, along with Jacob Jolliff, who’s a great mandolin player. He was on my first record as well. And he’s there Tony Trischka, who’s all time banjo great. He actually, I think he actually taught Bill Fleck how to play banjo or something. That’s a story that I heard. I mean, he’s in so he’s, he’s on the record. And then of course, a couple of my mainstays and Kenny Leiser, who, who plays with Wheelhouse here and Kevin Rowe is in Buffalo Gospel. I mean, I’ve known those guys for a long time. And they were out there with me too. And we’re all rallying behind the notion that we’re going to get this thing out there this year, LoHi records is going to put it out which is going to be great. So we just kind of got through all of those phases. And now it’s just a matter of strategically planning for what it is, but I don’t think I want to sit on this one too long. We’re really excited to get it out there and I’m pretty sure it’ll happen at some point in time in 2021.
Brent Hanifl 12:44
If people want to find out more follow along you know, find out what’s happening coming down the road. What’s the best avenue for for them?
Pat Ferguson 12:50
All social media is great. Pat Ferguson music is where you can find me on both Facebook and Instagram. You can also find me on Spotify. This new single is performing really well actually on Spotify, which is great and you can find me there just Pat Ferguson is there otherwise, my website has all this info too. And that’s www.patfergusonmusic.com.
Amy Gabay 13:16
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