So often when an artist or band announces or releases an album with a star producer assisting them, it’s the star producer whose name preempts the actual artists themselves in headlines and promotional copy. That’s never happened with the projects the Grammy-winning David Ferguson has produced, partly because he’s too humble for that level of self-promotion, even though he probably deserves such billing from the work he’s done over the years.
If you need a ringing endorsement, Sturgill Simpson says, “The Ferg is a bonafide card-carrying legendary hillbilly genius, and when he talks you better shut up and listen.”
As the grand poobah of the now bulldozed studio in Nashville called The Butcher Shoppe—which among other notable accomplishments housed the recording sessions for the last two albums from both Tyler Childers and Sturgill Simpson that Ferguson co-produced—it also was adjacent to the “office” Sturgill Simpson and John Prine once shared, which really was just a desk in a corner, a snooker table, and the Wurlitzer jukebox Steve Goodman once gave to John Prine as payment for co-writing “You Never Even Called Me By My Name.”
David Ferguson has been the veritable behind-the-scenes Wizard of Oz of the recent country music insurrection, with his name often (and unfairly) mentioned only as a footnote, if at all about some stellar album. Along with the role of producer or co-producer, “Fergie” as he’s referred to by close friends has engineered some pretty legendary records as well, including those Johnny Cash American Recordings albums with Rick Rubin, along with albums from country legends like Charley Pride, of course John Prine, and multiple selections from the bluegrass world.
Another interesting note about David Ferguson is he portrayed his mentor and former boss “Cowboy” Jack Clement in the Jerry Lee Lewis film Great Balls of Fire! from 1989.
Well now that The Butcher Shoppe has gone the way of the Dodo like so many Music City institutions, and the pandemic created some spare time, David “Fergie” Ferguson has decided to step out of the shadows, and will be releasing his first solo album in his 58 years of existence.
Called Nashville No More and produced by the legendary David Ferguson, it will be released on Fat Possum Records, and will see Fergie inviting friends and calling in favors to record country and bluegrass-style music with him stepping up to the mic as the centerpiece for the first time.
Notable musicians who contributed from the bluegrass world include Jerry Douglas, Sierra Hull, Stuart Duncan, Béla Fleck, Ronnie McCoury, and Tim O’Brien. From the country and rock world, you have Dan Auerbach, “Cousin” Kenny Vaughan, Mark Howard, Billy Sanford, and Russ Pahl among others. Among other things, Nashville No More is like an all-star album of Nashville musical talent.
“I’m so used to doing something and then moving on to the next thing, but I think it’s going to be neat to have a record come out,” says Ferguson, who started the record as a way to pass time during the pandemic. “The hardest thing to do is doing a record on yourself. You’ve got to learn how to listen to it like you’re listening to somebody else. Man, that takes gumption.”
Ahead of the new album to be released on September 3rd, David Ferguson has released the song “Knocking Around Nashville” written by frequent John Prine collaborator Pat McLaughlin. “I’ve known this song since I recorded the first demo on it in the mid-90s,” says Ferguson. “It just seems to become more relevant with every day that passes.”
Nashville No More can now be pre-ordered.
Nashville No More Tracklist:
1.Four Strong Winds
2. Boats to Build
3. Fellow Travelers
4. Nights With You
5. Looking for Rainbows
7. Early Morning Rain
8. Knocking Around Nashville
9. My Autumns Done Come
10. Hard Times Come Again No More