Nashville Renaissance Man David Ferguson Teams Up With Will Oldham and Verlon Thompson On New Video
For The Thompson/Guy Clark-Penned “Boats To Build”
From upcoming album Nashville No More, out Sept. 3rd via Fat Possum Records
David Ferguson—Grammy Award-winning recording engineer, studio owner, video game soundtrack composer, and collaborator with the likes of Johnny Cash, John Prine, and Sturgill Simpson—knew exactly where to start on the production of his first ever music video.
“Ferg called to ask if I’d direct a video for a song from this new collection, and I said yes,” recalls director Will Oldham, who music fans will likely know better as Bonnie “Prince” Billy. “He called a week later and said the song was to be ‘Boats to Build’and that he had an idea: he and my 2-year-old daughter, Poppy, would sit on the floor building boats out of Legos.”
Just like that, the ideas were flying and the ball was set into motion, eventually rolling in a host of Ferguson’s long-time friends and collaborators including legendary songwriter and instrumentalist Verlon Thompson who originally co-wrote “Boats to Build” with the late, great Guy Clark. The end result is a perfectly-Ferg gumbo of green-screen nautical adventure and road trip buddy film.
“I met Ferg around 2001 when I went to witness Johnny Cash’s recording of a song I wrote called ‘I See a Darkness’ at Rick Rubin’s Hollywood home studio,” says Oldham. “Ferg was the man at the mixing board. He both charmed and impressed me greatly. We hooked up again a few years later in Nashville, and have been close friends since then. I love David Ferguson. I especially love how and why he thinks of music. He has zero patience for bullshit and bad music. He hardly has patience for good music, but thankfully he’s found his way to making this beautiful record that truly only a Ferg could have made.”
David Ferguson says of the track: “To me “Boats To Build“ is about breaking free from life’s chains …And doing something you’ve always wanted to do …. build a boat or climb a mountain… It’s about change, satisfaction and the feeling of accomplishment.”
Nashville No More finds Ferguson—better known around town as “Fergie”—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 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 Rojason keyboards, and Mike Bub and Dave Roe on bass, and the end result is a mutual admiration society of taste and respect not equaled 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 favorite songs and the results are breathtaking.
Lead Photo (credit: Scott Smiontacchi)
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?’”
“I love David Ferguson.” -Will Oldham
Watch “Boats to Build” video at this link