To say that you never know what is around the corner is in current times a cliché we perhaps could do without but, in good times or bad, like all clichés it contains a kernel of truth. So it was in the good times of July 2007 that I found myself at the Athy Bluegrass Festival in County Kildare. Among the headline acts that year was Gary Ferguson and his dobro playing partner Dave Miner. I knew of Gary Ferguson from my copies of Bluegrass Unlimited. He was a big deal. Bluegrass songwriter, bluegrass singer, bluegrass band leader all the way from the USA. Of course it will come as no surprise that the man I really wanted to meet was Dave the dobro player. Meet we did in the back lounge in the hotel just before their Saturday night gig. Gary, Dave, my wife Janet and myself. I think we played only a couple of songs, Janet sang. It was all that was needed, the bend in the road was just coming into view. They headed off to complete their tour but Gary and I kept in touch and in February 2008 we hit the curve. I got an e mail from Gary, Dave had suddenly and tragically died. I got another e mail, would I partner him on his 2008 tour of Ireland that was already in the planning. I spoke to Janet. This was a major US singer songwriter who had played with some of the best dobro players in the world. He was a personal friend of Mike Auldridge one of my dobro heroes. Could I pull it off, I wasn't sure I could. Well twelve years later and a good few tours down something must have worked. I will confess that it all nearly ended at the first rehearsal in the hotel bedroom in Donegal. We were tired, we were hung over. I learnt the intro note for note off the cd but Gary said I wasn't getting it right. (I later learnt the intro on the cd was wrong) We left it there and decided to wing it at the gig that night and it was one of the best gigs of the whole tour. From the first note to now we seemed to be a good fit. His songs, his singing, my style made for a good blend. But, as I say, cliché or not, there is always another corner to turn. It has been a longer corner than first expected but sadly I think we are round it now and hence Ferguson's Farewell. I can only say thanks to Gary for the experience and the friendship. I saw more of Ireland in that first tour than I had seen in my entire life! Most of all it was fun and in these uncertain times we all need some of that!
Colin Henry, Ballyrobert, July 2020.
Myshall Morning Melody (Niall Toner/Bardis Music LTD/IMRO/ASCAP & Gary Ferguson/Gunny Sack Music, BMI) Joe Murray (bass), Colin Henry (dobro), Janet Henry (harmony vocal), Ted Ponsonby (Hammond organ), Emory Lester (mandolin), Ron Stewart (fiddle), Gary Ferguson (vocal and guitar)
Broken Wing- Janet Henry (IMRO) and Gary Ferguson (Gunny Sack Music, BMI) Janet Henry (vocal, guitar and harmony), Colin Henry (weissenborn), Joe Murray (bass and backing vocal) Recorded and produced by Joe Murray at Sessions in the House Castledawson, Northern Ireland
Who I Am Today (Gillian Tuite/IMRO & Gary Ferguson/Gunny Sack Music, BMI) Gillian Tuite (vocals and guitar), Rod McVey (piano and hammond organ), Joe Murray (all other instruments and backing vocal). Recorded and produced by Joe Murray at Sessions in the House Castledawson, Northern Ireland
Gettin' Old (Charlie McGettigan/IMRO & GaryFerguson/Gunny Sack Music, BMI) Charlie McGettigan (guitar and vocal), Joe Murray (bass, guitar and backing vocal), Donna Murray (backing vocal), Colin Henry (Dobro). Recorded and produced by Joe Murray at Sessions in the House Castledawson, Northern Ireland
To Say So Long (Roy Thompson/IMRO/Gary Ferguson/Gunny Sack Music, BMI/Frankie Lane, IMRO) Roy Thompson (vocal and guitar), Frankie Lane (pedal steel and all other instruments), Gary Ferguson (backing vocal). Recorded and mixed by Frankie Lane at Cois Tine Studio Kildare, Ireland
Ballad of Benny Freeman- Donna Murray (IMRO),Joe Murray (IMRO) and Gary Ferguson (Gunny Sack Music, BMI) Ted Ponsonby Dobro & acoustic guitar, Niall Murphy fiddle, and Joe Murray on bass and Bv's. Donna Murray Vocal & bv's. Recorded and produced by Joe Murray at Sessions in the House Castledawson, Northern Ireland.
Drifting Away (Carrie Haskins/IMRO- Paul Costello/IMRO & Gary Ferguson/Gunny Sack Music, BMI) Carrie Haskins (vocal), Paul Costello (guitar), Joe Murray (bass, drums, piano lead guitar and backing vocals). Recorded and produced by Joe Murray at Sessions in the House Castledawson, Northern Ireland
Old Man in the Mirror -Errol Walsh (IMRO) & Gary Ferguson (Gunny Sack Music, BMI) Errol Walsh: acoustic and electric guitars and vocals, Ted Ponsonby: Electric guitar and Hammond organ, Rod McVey: Piano and Hammond organ, Joe Murray: bass, drums, harmonies. Recorded and produced by Joe Murray at Sessions in the House Castledawson, Northern Ireland
Song For Taf (Shane Sullivan/Bardis Music & Gary Ferguson/Gunny Sack Music, BMI) Shane Sullivan (vocals), Joe Murray (bass), Ted Ponsonby (guitars), Colin Henry (weissenborn) Mixed by George Hodgkiss
Slow Lane (Mary Greene/IMRO & Gary Ferguson/Gunny Sack Music, BMI) Mary Greene, vocals and guitar, Noel Shine, acoustic guitar, electric guitar and whistle
Solitaires Dance- Ted Ponsonby and Gary Ferguson (Gunny Sack Music, BMI) Ted Ponsonby (guitar and dobro), Sarah Ponsonby (fiddle), Brendan Emmett (mandolin), James Blennerhassett (bass), Gary Ferguson (vocal), Joe and Donna Murray (backing vocals). Music tracks recorded at Soundpool Studio, Letterkenny, Ireland
Ferguson’s Farewell (Colin Henry, IMRO) Piano and organ played and recorded by Matt Evans; Bass played and recorded by Joe Murray; Dobro played and recorded by Colin Henry. Mixed by Joe Murray and produced by Colin Henry.
Mastered by George Hodgkiss Phoenix Productions Browntown, VA USA LINER