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Ferguson headlines anti-uranium bash
SoVaNow.com / September 06, 2012Up and coming singer-songwriter Halifax native Dane Ferguson is the featured attraction at a fund-raiser in Halifax County, organized to keep the ban on uranium mining in Virginia. The event, sponsored by the Virginia Coalition, a group of businessmen and civic leaders, takes place at the farm of Del. James Edmunds on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 5-9 p.m.
“I’ve talked to people down there enough about it,” the 24-year-old musician explains in an interview from his home in Richmond. If the Virginia legislature lifts the ban on uranium mining this term, he says, it would be “a shame. It could destroy our water system.”
Ferguson will perform a medley of new songs hot off his just released album, “Where We Were,” along with old favorites. Culminating three years’ work, Ferguson created and performed much of his music – a mix of soul, reggae, rock and country – from his own bedroom, plaintively playing guitar and filming himself for You Tube. No special effects, just a handsome dark-haired guy in jeans and T-shirt picking lyrical, soulful tunes.
“An amazing musician who makes unique music everyone can enjoy,” wrote the Artful Blogger in a post recently. “He has a lush sound, with his resonant voice interweaving with intricate guitar rhythms that ought to hit the Top Ten.”
While Ferguson is pretty much a one-man show, his old buddies from Halifax County provided back-up for the new album, with Alex Robbins on bass, Chase Bose on electronic guitar. Kno of APOS music in Los Angeles mastered the record, adding a rich, emotional nuance.
Ferguson gives credit for the album to hometown fans, including most notably, his mother Annette Ferguson, an elementary school librarian in Halifax County, and his father, clinical social worker Spencer Ferguson, now in Richmond. Through a website called “Kickstarter,” friends and family contributed money “to get the record mastered and pressed to disc. The response blew me away. So as a result of the kindness and support of so many friends and family members, I’m able to put out the record.”
The Internet has given this talented artist both the shop and the venue to make it big. “I will be doing everything I can to promote on the Internet. The Internet is a constant venue for a musician. Anyone can watch or listen at any time of day, so I’ll utilize it for promotions and sharing.” You can check his tunes out or even buy a CD (for $4) or one song (for $1) at http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since the age of four, growing up in the Fordland neighborhood near Dan River Baptist Church, Ferguson has been playing guitar and drums and soaking up music. “Music has always been a major part of life,” he explains. “My dad is a drummer and music dictionary, and my mom plays piano and always listened to great Motown. I couldn’t help but turn into a musician.”
During his years at Halifax County High School, he remembers many good times playing in a local band and more informally out at “field parties,” strumming and singing authentic country music with D.J. Roller on the mandolin, Chase Bowes on the guitar and other local musicians. They’d send a notice on Facebook to meet at a friend’s field, where they’d light tiki torches and bonfires, tailgate and play music into the night. “One hundred and fifty kids out in the field,” recalls Ferguson. “I loved it.”
After high school, Ferguson attended Old Dominion University for a year, when he appeared solo at small clubs in Norfolk. Now in Richmond, he’s dedicated to pursuing a career in music, which means holding down a job at a sandwich shop while he strikes off on the music circuit, either from his home studio or nightclubs.
Already connections are leading to opportunities: His boss at the sandwich shop introduced him to the owners of the Roxy, a bar with a patio on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. After a try-out, Ferguson soon gained a regular gig Friday nights at the Roxy where he has become a favorite.
Appearances in clubs in New York and a major connection in Los Angeles promise bigger things to come, including another album and music video, in the works. But he’s clear on what he wants: no “American Idol” or superstar glitz. While he is frequently compared to celebrity star John Meyer in sound and looks, he has more low-key role models, like Edwin McCain, a songwriter-performer whom he met as a 12-year-old fan at a concert in the early 1990s.
The new album deals with “a point of transformation in my life. I was moving around a lot and had the opportunity to meet lots of people and have some pretty incredible experiences. It’s about allowing yourself to live and love.
“Things happen, and it’s usually best to find as much good as you can and appreciate what you learned.”
While he used to want to get out of Halifax County, he now looks forward to every opportunity to return. Donating his show to the fund-raiser to benefit the efforts to keep the ban on uranium mining was timed perfectly with his new release.
“I love where I’m from. Halifax has shown me such support, that I’m willing to do anything in my power to show mine,” says Ferguson.
Donations will go directly to the Virginia Coalition to Keep the Ban on Uranium Mining in Virginia.
What: Fund-raiser to Fight Uranium Mining
When: September 15, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Where: The Farm of Virginia Del. James Edmunds
Lavinia “Bebo” Edmunds is a writer and teacher who grew up in Halifax County.
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