Photo credit: Scott Smiontacchi
David Ferguson Reaches Deep Into America’s Musical Past With Stunning “Hard Times Come Again No More”
Watch a live video of “Hard Times Come Again No More” featuring Sierra Hull and more now: https://youtu.be/nuZDdSIPQi4
New album Nashville No More is due out September 3rd
Over a luscious bed of pump-organ chords and clean, clear guitars, a heavenly baritone sings “let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears” from the first few pages of the great American music canon. The song is Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times Come Again No More,” first published in 1854. The voice singing it? That’s Nashville renaissance man David Ferguson—better known around town as “Fergie” or “The Ferg.” A Grammy Award-winning recording engineer, studio owner, video game soundtrack composer, and collaborator with the likes of Johnny Cash, John Prine, and Sturgill Simpson, Ferguson has recently plumbed the depths of his personal favourite tunes and utilised his wealth of recording knowledge to craft an exquisite debut album, Nashville No More—out September 3rd on Fat Possum Records.
Ferguson’s album-closing version of “Hard Times Come Again No More” hasn’t been re-written or cast in a modern light, but it seems more timely a message than ever. “I really think Stephen Foster might have known he was writing a song that would only get better and more meaningful with time,” says Ferguson about the song. “To write one that’s still loved over 160 years later is only more proof of his true poetic and melodic genius.” Fans can watch a live video of Ferguson—as well as album guests Sierra Hull, Justin Moses, Mike Rojas and Pete Abbott—performing “Hard Times Come Again No More” right here and pre-order or pre-save Nashville No More ahead of its September 3rd release at this link.
Nashville No More finds Ferguson exiting the control room and entering the spotlight with a self-produced, ten-song collection that will erase any doubt about his lack of history as the name on the marquee. This is no greenhorn debut album, but a long-marinated and much-awaited reveal of a warm and familiar voice of a generation. The company Ferguson keeps on Nashville No More speaks much more highly of him than written words in promo materials can.
Bluegrass power couple Sierra Hull and Justin Moses lend their voice and instrumental prowess to the aforementioned album closer “Hard Times Come Again No More” and reigning Americana queen Margo Price jumps in on the country-meets-bossa nova feel of “Chardonnay.” But it keeps going beyond those featured tracks—the entirety of Nashville No More’s roster is A-lister after A-lister. Bluegrass fans will easily pick out the playing of Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Béla Fleck, and Tim O’Brien, to name a few, and the more guitar-minded will catch the six-string picking and strumming of Mark Howard, Billy Sanford, and Kenny Vaughan. Add in Nashville studio greats like Russ Pahl on pedal steel, Sam Bacco on percussion, Mike Rojas on keyboards, and Mike Bub and Dave Roe on bass, and the end result is a mutual admiration society of taste and respect not equalled in most Nashville recordings of today. All of those instruments and all of those people are in turn enveloped by Ferguson’s resonant baritone singing his favourite songs and the results are breath-taking.
Nashville No More Tracklist:
Four Strong Winds
Boats to Build
Nights With You
Looking for Rainbows
Early Morning Rain
Knocking Around Nashville
My Autumns Done Come
Hard Times Come Again No More
About David Ferguson (in the words of Sturgill Simpson):
“The Ferg is a bonafide card-carrying legendary hillbilly genius and when he talks you better shut up and listen. He’s played bass for Jimmy Martin, chopped tape for Cowboy Jack Clement, been called a dear friend by Johnny Cash and John Prine, recorded every one of your damn heroes at least twice, and he’s forgotten more about music, specifically recording music, than you’ll ever know in your entire existence. So…next time you start thinking your shit doesn’t stink just stop and look in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘I’m sorry and you’ll have to excuse me but…is your name David Ferguson?’”