By Alessandra Woodward
Even if you missed the first concerts hosted by the Vernon Folk -Roots Music Society (Tim Hus in May and Don Alder in June), there is no time like now to get in on some of the best musical acts to hit Vernon.
On Saturday, the VFRMS is excited to host country and folk superstar Wendell Ferguson at the Okanagan College Vernon campus lecture theatre.
So far all of the shows hosted by the new non-profit society, formed this past spring, have included stellar talent, and the upcoming performance is certain to wow loyal fans and capture the attention of new ones.
“After two successful shows at the Spitfire Lounge, we are very excited about our upcoming concert at the Okanagan College Vernon campus lecture theatre tomorrow night,” said VFRMS board president Keith Whittingstall. “I think our audience is going to have a great time with Hall of Fame guitar player Wendell Ferguson. I am really looking forward to the show to see this Canadian music legend and as well our opening performer, Jane Eamon. She has just completed a new CD that is drawing rave reviews.”
Ferguson may just be the most famous Canadian guitar player you are forgetting you’ve heard of. If you can name a country or folk musician that he has not yet collaborated with, played with, recorded with, or performed on stage with, you likely beat Alex Trebek to “the question” and win all of the pub quizzes in town.
But in all seriousness, if you have not tuned in to the guitar genius of Ferguson, now is your chance. Besides, you wouldn’t want to say you missed out on seeing a live and up-close performance by the next inductee into Canada’s Country Music Hall of Fame, would you?
Ferguson’s incredible talent on the guitar assures him this prestigious honour, officially taking place Sept. 4 to 7 in Edmonton. This, along with the numerous awards he has earned over the years, attest to the fact that he is a man of rare talent, not to mention comic greatness.
Strewn about his living space and likely stacked haphazardly on his fireplace mantle are the CCMA Guitar Player of the Year awards (from 1995 to 2001, until they decided he wasn’t allowed to win anymore), three-time Back-up Band of the Year award (also CCMA), a Vocal Collaboration award for his duet with Russell deCarle of Prairie Oyster fame, a Juno nomination for his time with the band Coda the West, a Lifetime Achievement award from the Ontario Country Performer and Fan Association after releasing his album The $#!t Hits The Fans, and even first place awards at both the Houston and New York International Indie Film Festivals for his musical short, Wendell’s Cranky Christmas.
The latest award on top of that growing pile is for his most recent CD, Menage A Moi, winning Best Instrumental Album at the 2010 Country Folk Music Awards.
He has played with fellow greats Shania Twain, Keith Urban, The Dixie Chicks, Gordon Lightfoot, The Arrogant Worms, Tracy Bird, Terri Clark, Deana Carter, and *insert anyone else who is talented and famous in the industry.*
In between writing acceptance speeches and rubbing elbows with the industry greats, Ferguson shares his humour and musical genius at music festivals and stages across Canada, continuing to perform his own original works as well as collaborating with anyone brave enough to share the spotlight with him.
Opening for Ferguson Saturday will be the Okanagan’s own Jane Eamon, who is no stranger to the challenge of finding space about the house for music awards.
Five B.C. Interior/Okanagan Music awards (three years in a row as Best Folk Artist), eight songwriting prizes, and a string of nominations have garnered Eamon an honoured standing on the local and national folk music scene.
The singer/songwriter combines an eclectic mix of blues, folk, gospel, and even Celtic sounds to add a unique depth to the powerhouse performance she is famous for delivering.
The VFRMS has more in store this coming season.
“Our entertainment committee has been very busy working to ensure we have acts every month, starting in August through to June 2015, and the list is very exciting,” said Whittingstall. “Entertainers from Manitoba, Alberta, Alabama, Texas and British Columbia are on our upcoming event list. They are not to be missed.”
Becoming a member of VFRMS guarantees concert goers an inside scoop on all upcoming shows, and even the chance to help out at a show or two. The VFRMS will be selling memberships at the door to Saturday’s concert, and all current members will receive $5 back at the door if they buy a ticket.
“We are also seeking additional volunteers to assist with some of the responsibilities,” said Whittingstall, adding, “Thank you to all those who have indicated they would like to help out.”
Doors open at 7:15 p.m., with Eamon taking the stage at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, available in advance online at www.vernonfolkroots.com, at the Bean Scene coffee house, or at the door.