Pat Ferguson is HotelRED’s resident musician and weekly entertainment at The Wise’s Tunes, Taps, and Tacos event. He currently has an incredible project in the works, a debut record entitled “Light of Day / Dark of Night.”
Originally making waves as a founding member and lead guitarist for Midwest staple, The Smokin Bandits, Pat Ferguson has evolved into a renowned solo performer, songwriter, and vocalist, channeling Southern roots in Americana and Folk, with a dark Country backbone and sweet Midwestern vocals.
Read on to learn more about this talented, Madison-area artist.
How did you get into music? Tell us about your history and background as a musician.
PF: Music has always been a big part of my life, for as long as I can remember. From an instrumentation perspective, piano lessons came first, then I played cello and clarinet in elementary school, and when I was 12 a good buddy of mine got guitar lessons from his parents for Christmas. He asked if I wanted to do it with him, and we had an old classical guitar that belonged to my Aunt at the house, so I veered down the guitar path and never looked back. I played in some bands through high school and into the first part of college, and then formed a bluegrass band called The Smokin’ Bandits with Christian Staehly. We toured all over the place from 2003-2011 or so, and had the the opportunity to share the stage with some of our heroes in music. Merle Haggard, Little Feat, Dr. John, Todd Snider, Jason Isbell, just to name a few. The Bandits are a huge part of who I am, both as a musician and the person I’ve become. We still play a handful of shows a year at really fun venues and festivals throughout the Midwest, but over the last five or six years I’ve begun to focus in on more solo acoustic singer/songwriter styles of playing and songwriting.
Who are some musicians that inspire you?
PF: The list is so long and wide. I am definitely more old-school in my musical taste, and fell in love at an early age with artists like The Allman Brothers Band, Neil Young, Simon & Garfunkel, CSNY, Grateful Dead, Little Feat, Willie Nelson. What those groups were doing in their primes, both musically and lyrically, was so incredibly innovative. The world had never heard the sounds they were creating, and that was incredibly motivating for me as an artist and songwriter. I think there are pockets of that throughout the history of music, but for whatever reason that side of the 60’s and 70’s really has carried with me.
What path brought you to your residency at HotelRED?
After the touring days with the Bandits started to really slow down in 2011-2012, I was looking to root myself in the Madison music scene a bit more. A good friend of mine introduced me to John Bauer, the Executive Chef at the time, who was looking for a musician to play a couple of events that were coming up. John and I hit it off and became fast friends, and in September 2012 the offer came to settle in as the house musician and play every Wednesday.
Tell us about some of your favorite memories at HotelRED over the years.
HotelRED has become such a special place to my family and I. We had our oldest daughter’s first birthday party there, which really stands out to me. All of the Wednesdays and events, friends new and old, it all has blended together just as one incredible experience.
What is your favorite thing about being HotelRED’s resident musician?
The people, hands down. Between the staff at the hotel and restaurant, along with the folks who are there week in and week out, it really is an incredible environment.
What are some of your favorite things to do in the Madison area?
My wife and I are big foodies, so living in a city with such an eclectic restaurant scene is so awesome. Always great music here, too, so if we’re around and can make it out we love hitting up the music venues around town.
Are you working on any exciting projects currently? What is in store for your musical future?
I’ve just wrapped up recording my first full-length solo album, “Light of Day / Dark of Night,” which I am really excited about. It produced by my good friend Adam Greuel of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, and features contributions from the likes of Jacob Jolliff (Yonder Mountain String Band), Kyle Keegan (Ben Howard), Kenny Leiser (WheelHouse), Chad Staehly (Hard Working Americans & Great American Taxi), Sarah Vos (Dead Horses), and Horseshoes & Hand Grenades. Release is slated for the end of April on LoHi Records; an independent label formed by Jim Brooks, Todd Snider, Tim Carbone (of Railroad Earth), and Chad Staehly (of Gold Mountain Entertainment in Nashville). We’re planning to throw a big Madison-area release party at the Stoughton Opera House on Friday April 27th for which tickets are now on sale. We’re so proud of this record and can’t wait to share it with everyone. A lot of fun plans in the works to tour and promote the record.
Visit Pat’s website: www.patfergusonmusic.com