Wendell Ferguson has hit another high point in his career. On top of the Juno nominations, the 10 CCMA Awards, (six consecutive ones for Guitarist of the Year) two international film awards and a Canadian Folk Music Award for Instrumental Album of the Year, he’s the current artist inductee into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.
“And all I can do is play the guitar and write songs, and entertain,” said the Ontario native. “I didn’t really feel comfortable being bestowed with that Hall of Fame honour — I mean, Hank Snow, Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray, Ian and Sylvia, the Good Brothers and me? C’mon! I don’t live in that rarefied air.”
But when a fellow musician thanked him for winning one for “us,” Ferguson took another look at the inductee list.
“Once I realized Al Cherney, Maurice Bolyer, Don Messer, Ward Allen and many other great musicians were on there, I started to feel a little better about it,” he said.
This summer is filled with gigs and festivals from one end of the country to the other.
“I kind of have one foot in the folk world and one in the country world,” said Ferguson. “Country audiences know me as a hot, chicken-pickin’ and finger-style guitarist. But the folk audiences see the funny, songwriting side of me along with the guitar playing.”
He said he’s just as happy being a sideman or a session player as he is being in the spotlight.
“As long as I get to make music, it’s always a good day.”
Ferguson has played a number of festivals this summer, including Dauphin’s Countryfest, Burke’s Falls Country Jamboree, Kingsville Folk Music Festival and the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival.
People ask Ferguson when he’s going to retire.
“How do you retire from a life of leisure? And why would I? I love what I do and it just gets more and more fun.”
Wendell Ferguson plays Lorenzo’s Cafe today at 8 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Cover charge is $10. Lorenzo’s is at 901 Mabel Lake Rd. in Enderby. For more information, see lorenzoscafe.com or call 250-838-6700.