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Lindsay Ferguson: Spirit and sound

Submitted by on March 23, 2010 – 9:45 amNo Comment

Music-Pop-Folk-3“I’d laugh if someone tried to say something negative to me right now,” Lindsay Ferguson says as we sit down in a patch of grass behind Roots Stage at Ottawa Bluesfest.

Ferguson has just finished an inspiring performance and is elated. She sits cross-legged in the plush grass, laughing, sipping a cold Heineken and smoking a Belmont cigarette. “I think that everybody at times finds themselves on the top of a bridge, hanging off the rafters smoking a cigarette,” she reflects.

Lindsay is barefoot. I take off my shoes. ‘If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?’ I test. “The other trees hear it,” she answers.

A breeze blowing from the Ottawa River carries the sound of Theory of a Deadman’s live set from the nearest stage to our patch.  We speak of sunsets and camping. And brewing coffee over campfire.  And real life.

“I’m still trying to figure out this whole life, and where I fit,” she says. “So I get disillusioned by romantic illusions sometimes.” Ferguson’s philosophy, like her music, is best described as an attractive fusion of eclectic flavours.

Her debut record, Sound, is a beautiful blend of country, rock, funk, blues and pop plus. On stage, she sings like an angel sent from the stars. She’s soulful.  A poet could become quite lyrical describing her gold locks, sly smile and azure-coloured eyes, I think as we talk.

“I never want to be a number at the bottom of a line,” Ferguson tells me. “I want to be a voice – I want to be a heart and a soul.”

‘Does part of you long for what you’ve called the “real job, house, nine to five and kids?”’ “Sometimes I long for a home to call my own. Because it’s been tough living out of a suitcase for the past two months. But the payoff is big. When I get to perform, I know why I’m doing it.”

‘For someone in your position, is it as important to practise discipline as it is the guitar?’ I question. “They’re one in the same. But part off me wishes I was a Jimi Hendrix-type person and slept with my guitar.”

In 2002, Ferguson bought her first guitar and wrote a song called Wide World. She played it for Bono. Pop’s pope listened to the first song Lindsay ever wrote…and approved. “She’s really good,” Ferguson recalls U2’s front man saying.

John Lennon once said, “I’m an artist, and if you give me a tuba, I’ll bring you something out of it.” Ferguson adheres to the same artistic code of conduct, I realize as we talk. At a young age, her journalist father would interview her and she would answer his questions by singing them back to her father. Some things never change.

“My voice is my instrument,” Lindsay sings. “It’s just something that comes out of me when I’m up on stage performing and I have all these people’s energy inside my body.”

‘Is Lindsay Ferguson the new-age, non-junkie, Canadian Janice Joplin?’ I close. “In a sense, yeah.”

Remi L. Roy

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