Carrie Ferguson

Northeast Performer Magazine, Record Review

RECORD REVIEW: Carrie Ferguson Riding on the Back of the Wind Northampton, MA Produced by Scot Coar, Carrie Ferguson & Eric Ferguson Recorded & mixed at Sow's Ear Studios by Coar Additional recording by Eric Ferguson Mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering By: Christopher Wilkey May 2010 Let me just say it: this album is great. It crosses musical genres like a cat's cradle. It's rootsy and rocking, swinging and soulful. The songs are well-crafted and catchy with sweet melodies and instrumentation that is artfully arranged. Ferguson's tales seem to leap from the speakers. They breathe. They speak. They fill the air with rich imagery and tasty zeal. They capture you and pull you into a world full of love and discovery, shaded by a touch of humor and loss. Listening to the album is like being at a backyard barbecue with all your friends, old lovers, family and coworkers. A party lit with string lights in the trees, fueled with endless food and a bottomless cooler of beer and soda. It's an incredible debut offering. "Liar Liar"is full of pep and spunk. "Beautiful World"is warm and endearing. But "Girls Like Me"is a gem, a singalong radio chart-topper just waiting to happen. The chorus swells like a roller coaster - not one of the crazy new ones where you flip and jerk all over the place - no, it's like one of the old wooden ones where you feel giddy and light as you swirl around in a circle, dipping and swaying. When you put this record on, you're gonna smile. (self-released)

Daily Hampshire Gazette

RECORD REVIEW Daily Hampshire Gazette Still reeling from serious heartbreak, sick of the dreary and cold New England winter around her and feeling the need to get out and do something different, Northampton singer-songwriter-pianist Carrie Ferguson got on a plane to sunny Los Angeles. Destination: her brother and sound engineer Eric, raring to record sis, who had a bunch of breakup songs ready to go. That was three years ago, and the album that Ferguson began during that dark winter went through some transformative phases to become her new, brightly decorated, hopeful and sometimes gleeful debut solo CD entitled "Riding On the Back of the Wind." Ferguson celebrates the release of the disc with a show at the Iron Horse Sunday at 7 p.m. The record starts with a catchy country-pop song (almost a quick-footed Cajun two-step) called "Let You Go" that deftly shows both sides of the album at once. It's a cheery song about being stuck, a giddy-up tune about how hard it is to move on. "And I think we had some fun/I know we ate a lot of food/I thought you were the one but I guess I had me fooled," sings Ferguson, a description that certainly hits close to home with anyone who's been in a happy-for-a-while relationship (so happy and freewheeling that you gain weight from all the romantic meals and snacks)...and then been dumped. Yet whatever melancholy is in the lyrics, the music is grabbing it by he arm for a spin on the dance floor. Hope is taking the lead. "I like it that some of the 'sad' ones maybe have a little bit of cheerfulness to them and the 'upbeat' ones maybe have a little bit of pain," said Ferguson in an interview earlier this week. "Radio Waves" is another example of the record's interesting blend of emotions, a song that's weary yet finger-snappingly funky, with one of the album's hookiest choruses. Ferguson's plan with her brother Eric was to go out to Los Angeles for one week and work around the clock to finish the album. They began by recording in his bedroom studio in a makeshift sound booth that consisted of U-Haul moving blankets and a borrowed keyboard. But thanks to a generous loan from their parents, they were also able to spend two days in two very different professional recording studios. "The first was in a ware-house, had no windows, had a very colorful and comfortable dingy punk vibe, an awesome sound booth, and a couple of recording rooms crammed with equipment," Ferguson said. "The second was in a somewhat famous jazz pianist's back yard next to a carp pond and rock garden. It had huge sliding glass doors between the rooms, grey leather sofas and an amazing grand piano." Ferguson says she felt out of her element in L.A. "It seemed to me out there that everybody was always texting and checking their cell phones, even in the studio there would be four guys clicking away in between takes." Eric spent about eight days frantically editing the recordings, sometimes while eating breakfast, but the siblings ran out of time and Ferguson returned home to unhurriedly continue making the record with her friend and engineer Scot Coar. "In contrast, Scot's studio, Sow's Ear, is in a little neighborhood on the edge of Easthampton," Ferguson said. "It borders a huge meadow and there are bears and coyotes and fireflies and peepers. Scot has a cell phone but he doesn't check it." In the two years it took to rework and finish the album, Ferguson moved past the heartbreak phase and as her outlook changed, so did the concept of the record, which was once named after her tough but wistful song "Small White Rock" (now the album's closing track). The resulting "Riding On the Back of the Wind" has more than its share of memorable songs - the moody rocker "Mars" (partially inspired by Ray Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles"), the haunting "Mermaid" and the rollicking "Girls Like Me" are just three diverse examples - and prickly,honest lyrics stick out all over the place. "I was so much in love with you/but you were not in love with you," Ferguson sings over a sad seesaw piano part on the song "Paris." At her Iron Horse concert, Ferguson and her band will play the entire 11-song record from beginning to end. She'll be joined by Jim Henry on guitar, dobro and mandolin, Paul Kochanski on bass, J.J. O'Connell on drums and Amy Olsner on backup vocals. Also in the group will be two of Ferguson's bandmates from her old group Plump, Chris Scanlon and fiddler Emily Brienes. Ferguson, who's been writing and performing for 20 years, knew it was time to finally make her own full-length album. "I've always wondered, 'Will people - other than my friends and folks in the Valley - like my music? What will it do? What can it become?' And for various reasons I'd never quite managed to fully ask the, now I am," Ferguson said. "I', just so psyched about finally getting the music out there," she added. "I feel like this recording is really me. There's humor and melodrama and worry and queerness and fun and sadness and pondering, bigness and littleness." Jose Ayerve (from Spouse and Nuclear Waste Management Club) will open the show.

Northeast Performer Magazine

CONCERT REVIEW Carrie Ferguson - Jose Ayerve Iron Horse Music Hall February 28, 2010 By: Christopher Wilkey The evening started with Jose Ayerve. He performed a strong set. His songs were well-crafted yet stripped down and raw. He was a man and his guitar laying out the music for everyone to feel. He got the room warmed up and the crowd ready for Carrie Ferguson and her band. We were there to celebrate the release of her debut album Riding on the Back of the Wind. The record is great. The songs are catchy and the production is spectacular. It has a down-home rootsy feel with just the right touches of rock and pop mixed in. Carrie and her band did and amazing job of presenting the songs with the spit and fire of a live performance without losing the nailed-perfect precision of the studio. J.J. O’Connell led the way with his dynamic, tight drumming. Paul Kochanski’s bass playing was right there with him the whole way, laying a solid foundation for Jim Henry’s dobro and guitar to work across. Amy Oelsner’s backing vocals gave the melodies a velvety richness while Emily Brienes’ fiddle was like the breeze in your hair. Carrie charmed us all with her piano, and when she picked it up, her acoustic guitar. The inside of the Iron Horse looks like a big barn that’s been turned into a hillbilly nightclub. It’s full of exposed beams and plank floors with table service and a menu. Carrie’s songs were right at home there. “Liar Liar” had everyone dancing in there seats. “Girls Like Me” brought the sold-out crowd to catcalls. Chris Scanlon grabbed a guitar and joined the band for “Small White Rock” as the crowd helped sing the melody. This is Carrie’s debut album, but she controlled the stage with a grace and presence which was absolutely endearing. Anyone in the room who didn’t already adore her must have by the end of the evening.

The Valley Advocate

From "Syrupy but Not Saccharine", a preview of Syrup Performing Arts Festival

"I'm a Carrie Ferguson fan-in-the stands.  I first heard her at last year's Syrup and immediately bought her CD (her second is now in the works).  She brings a trained musician's technique and sense of harmony to devilishly catchy folk-pop tunes and melodic ballads with exuberantly heartfelt lyrics.  And she brings an infectious joy to her live performances, where she's often joined by a cluster of prominent area musicians who are also fans."