I walk into the jumbled log-cabin interior of McB's and see Bridgid Ferguson setting up with the Chris Gill Band. In a few minutes they've started playing their first hour, kicking off with "No Woman No Cry." Ferguson sings backup. So far, so good. The band then plays Three Dog Night's "Never Been to Spain," and Ferguson belts it out like she's channeling Loretta Lynn, Etta James and Aretha in one, and it's clear why she aims to go solo. Her voice pretty much necessitates it.
Born in Brandon and the mother of a 3-year old daughter, Ferguson, 32, speaks about her ambitions after the band stops for a break: "I'm recognized as a female backup singer, but I want people to be able to recognize me as a musician in my own right."
Ferguson works as a paralegal at the Forman Perry Watkins Krutz & Tardy firm with some 400+ employees, and she plays gigs with the Chris Gill Band. "Some days it can be difficult, but tonight is not so bad," she explains.
Ferguson's aspirations took root in childhood. Her parents used to take her to the Metrocenter Mall and give her $5 to spend. She'd invariably purchase a book. "Momma didn't think my social life was blossoming," Ferguson says, "One time she told me, 'Don't come back with a book,' so I bought a Patsy Cline CD."
She seems completely at home on stage, and it makes sense: her first performance dates back to elementary school. Ferguson forgot her show-and-tell piece, so she decided to perform "Green River" by Credence Clearwater, a song she'd heard innumerable times on her mother's 45s. "I made sounds for the guitar parts," she says.
Ferguson foresees her solo performances differing considerably from what she does presently. No reggae, she says. She wants more soul, with a jazzy edge. She leans across the table and says with a low, enthused tone, "Gritty, grimy stuff. To me that's the stuff you can get lost in … you can just pour yourself into it."
Ferguson doesn't lack for versatility. She can swing from an earnest, high croon in Etta James' "At Last" to genuine force in a killer performance of "Respect."
Ferguson is eager to break as a solo artist in Jackson. A friend of her mother's used to sneak her into Hal & Mal's to watch the acts. "I really want to play there," she says, "some gut-wrenching stuff."
Bridgid Ferguson can be reached at [e-mail missing] or (601) 209-3583.
So you know: Bridgid's going to playing at Davidson's Corner Market on October 14 and 28 in Canton, from 8 to 12 PM. If you're around there or are interested in some seriously powerful singing you should mark down the dates. She's got a voice that'll put some soul in ya.
- Walker Sampson
Kamikaze needs to talk to this chick about M.A.P. I see a M.A.P. board position in her future!
Great account of how perseverence pays off. Something for all artists to remember: though you may have to work a "real" job to pay the bills, never forget to give time to your dreams.
- c a webb