Artist Snapshot: Mitchell Cole Ferguson
“Music has had such an impact on my life and has shaped who I am today. The thought of not playing music has never really entered my mind. I’ve definitely had struggles trying to manage work, relationships, and music. I’ve left jobs and I’ve lost plenty of relationships, but music has always been there for me.”
Mitchell Ferguson is a man deeply committed to his craft of songwriting and musicianship. As the pedal steel guitar player in the Americana/Country band, Faded Travelers, he is helping make the music that he can’t find in modern country music these days. In the lead up to the band’s performance this Saturday at the Harvester, we were able to find out a bit more about Ferguson and his backstory, and where he plans to grow from here.
“I first started playing music around the age of fourteen. I bought a Fender Stratocaster because I wanted to be like (fellow southpaw) Jimi Hendrix. I stuck to practicing in my bedroom and playing along to Hendrix, Cream, Zeppelin and the like, until I ran into some other musicians in college.I started out wanting to sound like everyone else, and now that I’m in a band of my own and writing original music, I just want to sound like myself.”
With Faded Travelers, Ferguson has found a collaboration of like-minded professionals with whom he can pursue his own style, while building a unique band sound that has drawn regional attention in the relatively short period since forming in 2015. Now, with the release of its first album “Restless Souls”, Ferguson hopes his music will resonate with even more people.
The album, recorded locally at Railroad Town Records in Vinton, and mixed at OMNIsound Studios in Nashville, TN, had a release party earlier this month to a receptive crowd at the first annual Twin Creeks Brewing Creekfest in Vinton. And, while Ferguson is rightly proud of the work on the album, his love of playing live is what truly sparks his passions and provides the chance to connect with the audience.
“I absolutely love it. I try to groove with the rest of the band and just have a good time. There’s a lot of give and take. Our lead guitarist, Brent Dickerson, and I share solos and play twin licks throughout a lot of our songs, so you’ll often see us exchange glances on stage, like we’re saying ‘Alright, top that!’ I enjoy playing the pedal steel, because many people have never seen one in person. It is great to see people walk up to me between sets or after shows to ask about the guitar, or play around with the pedals to see how they affect the strings.”
A favorite moment for Ferguson came at a live performance years ago when he was playing one of his original tunes, “I normally keep my head down when I play, a habit I am working to break, but I looked up and noticed a complete stranger singing some of my lyrics. It was a pretty surreal experience. I somehow managed to influence someone else and created a positive experience in their life with my music!”
Creating that magic in someone else’s life is a goal so many musicians strive for, and Ferguson intends to keep doing that as long as he’s standing.
“I intend on continuing to play and progress as a musician and songwriter. I’m always interested in meeting other musicians and learning what I can from them. I’d like to record with other artists in the future. Ultimately, I want to craft a sound that is all my own, a sound that when you hear the very first notes, you think, “That’s Mitchell Cole Ferguson”.
And as we ask many of the artists we interview, what advice would Ferguson give musicians just starting out? “It’s expensive, time consuming, tiring, and you won’t get the support that you think you should starting out, but it is completely worth it. You can never stop practicing, because you’ll never know enough. It is a beautiful adventure. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The best thing you can do is jump in head first as soon as you can.”
Mitchell Ferguson on his
beloved pedal steel guitar.