The online home for Fergus Maximus (both the band and the bloke)
The online home for Fergus Maximus (both the band and the bloke)

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Songs & Stories in the wild (and in the media)

It’s interesting what people hear. Fergus Maximus has recently evoked a variety of comparisons from listeners.

“A little like a cross between Darren Hanlon and Angus & Julia Stone.” David, Redwood City, CA, USA

“He reminds me of Things Of Stone And Wood or The Whitlams.” Matthew Jolly, BSide Magazine

“Quite Paul Kellyish in terms of sparse phrases evoking a deep story.” Craig, Adelaide, SA, Australia

Ferg was suitably chuffed by that last one in particular, which relates to his latest song, “Where You Need To Be”; a reflection for the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.

But whatever people’s individual musical touchstones might be, the response to the debut Fergus Maximus EP/LP “Songs & Stories” has been overwhelmingly positive, with accolades for both the songcraft and the storytelling.

“Songs & Stories” was recorded live at The Austral Hotel, Adelaide in November 2014. As the title suggests, the album includes both songs and Ferg’s between-song stories that provide context for those songs. But don’t take our word for it. Hear what the the reviewers are saying about “Songs & Stories”:

“I enjoyed listening to this record, it really felt like attending a gig. The stories are an important and essential part of the experience.”
Matthew Jolly, BSide Magazine

“Listeners will get a similar experience to those sitting at the front tables on the night in question.”
David Robinson, The Clothesline

Isn’t it about time you booked yourself a front row seat?

Digital downloads and limited edition physical CDs are available at the Fergus Maximus BandCamp store.

 

“Songs & Stories” is now available

After a fantastic launch show at the Jade Monkey on Friday, 29 May 2015, the “Songs & Stories” EP/LP is now available for purchase. You can try before you buy too — you can listen to the whole of both the EP and LP versions on the Bandcamp site or using their app.

Digital and physical copies of the EP and LP versions are available from the Fergus Maximus Bandcamp store and you can also get hold of digital versions on iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Rdio, Google Play, Amazon and Tidal (and some absurd number of other places around the web).

“Songs & Stories” comes in two versions. The standard EP has six songs (11 tracks altogether including all the chatterboxing).

Songs-&-Stories---Live-@-The-Austral---Standard-Edition-EP6---Cover

The special edition LP has 12 songs (24 tracks including all the chatterboxery). That’s TWICE as many songs and at least 33% more mistakes!

Songs-&-Stories---Live-@-The-Austral---LP12-cover-800

“Songs & Stories” Launch

After approximately forever, the debut Fergus Maximus album is about to launch (and Ferg is super-stoked to announce that the evening will start with a special guest set by the wonderful Kelly Menhennett).

“Songs & Stories” happened quite accidentally during preparation for the first Fergus Maximus studio album. It was recorded live at Ferg’s first ever solo show — a SCALA set at the Austral Hotel in November 2014. That show proved two things:

1. 20 years as a frontman only goes part way to preparing you for sitting on stage alone with a guitar for the first time (it’s kind of terrifying, apparently)

2. Noni Espinosa is a terrific sound engineer — the live mix went straight to his hard drive and when Ferg heard it back he realised he had accidentally recorded his first album.

The “Songs & Stories” EP has 6 songs, and you can get a taste of it by checking out the first single on the YouTubes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXdStnXZr44

There is also a Special Edition LP which has the whole, hour-long show (that has twice the songs and also includes at least 33% more mistakes).

Since “Songs & Stories” is a solo release, this will be mostly a solo show but don’t be surprised if some special guests pop up.

Quick, put it in your diary now! It’s long enough after the Festival/Fringe madness that you will have caught your breath but before the Cabaret Festival knocks you off-balance again.

Tickets will be $15 ($10 concession) and will be available at the door. Tix are also available for pre-order and the EP/LP will soon be available for pre-order too. Email bookings@fergusmaximus.com for more info.

Fergus-Maximus---Songs-&-Stories-Launch-Flyer-Final

Fergus Maximus’ debut single is now live …

This is a song about a bloke called Derek, written for everyone who has ever lived in a sharehouse. And for all those who wish they had.

‘Derek’ is the first official single release from Fergus Maximus and is the lead single from his forthcoming EP/LP Songs & Stories – Live @ The Austral (launching in May 2015). Derek is available on Kicktone and iTunes and CDBaby and pretty much everywhere you might expect to find such things (Spotify and Pandora coming soon).

It was recorded live at The Austral Hotel in Adelaide, South Australia on Thursday, 13 November 2014 by Noni Espinosa. Noni did the live mix and recorded it straight to disk and then tweaked the levels a bit and, well, that’s pretty much all that happened. It was mastered by Peter Maher in London (because The Internet). Daniel Ralph and his sister Deborah ran cameras that night and then Daniel used magic and electrons to stitch together the video you see before you.

The gig was one of the regular weekly showcases of original music put on by SCALA (the Songwriters, Composers & Lyricists Association). They’ve been putting on such evenings for over 25 years. Go SCALA, you rock! www.facebook.com/scalasongwriters

Ferg says that all the above-mentioned people are awesome and great to work with and you should definitely check them out. We had assumed he includes himself in that statement but when we asked him to clarify, he responded with “No Comment” so you will have to make up your own minds.

The amiable Daniel Ralph can be found at www.PressStopProductions.com.au or via his FB page at www.facebook.com/PressStopProductions

The cheerful Noni Espinosa can be found doing sound at SCALA gigs at The Austral or with his riotously fun band Funk Latin Union www.facebook.com/funklatinunion

The legendary Pete Maher, Master Masterer Extraordinaire, can be found at www.petemaher.com

What happened to January?

Our January has disappeared. We could have sworn we left it lying around here somewhere but it’s gone.

To help identify our January in the event we have to report it to the police as stolen, here are some identifying features:

1. We had our annual gig at the Moana Surf Life Saving Club‘s Wine By The Waves food and wine event on 11 January. How many times have we done that now? Four or five? Something like that. It’s always fun. Great food and wine and the venue is wonderful, right on Moana beach.

2. We kicked off our regular gig calendar at The Artel Lounge Bar and Restaurant on 18 January. Great to get back to where we belong. It’s a terrific venue and has been a regular thing every month or two for a few years now.

3. We got invited to participate in the 2015 Crush Festival (that’s the Adelaide Hills Food & Wine event, not the hardcore moshpit that the name might seem to imply) on 25 January. A great afternoon at The Barker Hotel.

If you happen to find our January somewhere, please send it home. We miss it.

Ferg

What We’ve Been Up To All This Time – Summary

Wow, this turned out to be quite an adventure. For handy reference, here is an overview of things that happened in 2014:

Episode 1—rough recordings, arranging, rehearsing and a handful of gigs

Episode 2—saying goodbye to Mike Stewart

Episode 3—singing with Clare Bowditch

Episode 4—Sri Lanka

Episode 5—Walk Together

Episode 6—East Sumba, Indonesia

Episode 7A—So Many Gigs

Episode 7B—Seriously, SO many gigs

Episode 8—Meeting awesome peoples

Episode 9—Ferg’s first solo show

What We’ve Been Up To All This Time – Episode 9

After 20 years as a frontman, Ferg finally took the plunge and signed up to do a solo gig (he blames Ronnie Taheny for bullying him into it but she continues to feign innocence).

After a trial run doing a few tunes at the ARBA Blues Heats at The Gov, Ferg performed at the “Which Fergus is Which?” event at The Austral on Thursday, 13 November 2014:

Ferguses700

 
The photos of the two suspects above are believed to have been taken by forensic photographers Richard Parkhill and Brent Leideritz (respectively).

The event was one of the weekly original music showcases put on by SCALA. According to the promotional blurb:

“Fergus Maximus will be performing a 45 minute solo set at the SCALA Live event at The Austral Hotel.

However, to confuse matters, the mercurial Fergus O’Regan is also performing that night at the same venue. Yes, it’s a double Fergus bill!

It will be easy to tell them apart since they both have beards and long hair and baritone voices and a mild tendency toward silliness and … um …

Hmmm. I guess you’ll just have to come along and figure it out for yourselves (although FM is probably about 100 years older).”

And it went … remarkably, astonishingly well. So well, in fact, that there is a Live EP imminent.

Ferg told stories and sang songs (that were, admittedly, also stories) and that 45 minutes turned into an hour and people laughed at the right moments and stayed engaged the whole time. All being well, the EP should be released some time in March, with a special edition version containing the whole gig to be released a little later in the year.

It feels like the beginning of something new.

Austral

 
Thanks to David Bailey for the photo.

What We’ve Been Up To All This Time – Episode 8

2014 was full of wonderful opportunities.

Saturday, 9 March 2014. WOMADelaide. It was very dark, the flash on Ferg’s phone camera is terrible and the poor guy was exhausted after performing for an hour and a half but Speech from Arrested Development was gracious, humble and thoroughly lovely and Ferg’s big goofy smile says it all! So ridiculously excited to meet one of his heroes and so delighted that he turned out to be such a great bloke.

Speech

 
Later that same week. Ferg’s Christmas present to @ashlyferg was VIP tickets to the launch of Kate Miller-Heidke‘s fantastic new, crowdfunded album, “O Vertigo”. The show was in the Garden of Unearthly Delights as part of the Adelaide Fringe. Of course, Ferg had to go along too. Because, fanboy, you know?

KMH-&-Ash-BW

 
In May, Ferg flew to Melbourne for Clare Bowditch’s Big Hearted Business conference. It was a challenging and rewarding experience. One of the highlights was Missy Higgins‘ keynote speech — it was incredibly encouraging to hear her articulate and affirm the value of what we do as songwriters (and Ferg’s daughters were appropriately jealous that he got to meet Missy). The lovely random stranger who agreed to take a photo of Ferg with the equally lovely Missy Higgins captured the candid shot below while they chatted in the moment before posing for a more typical fan photo. There is a sweet irony in the RAGE apparently emanating from Ferg’s forehead since the mood was entirely cordial.

Missy2

 
In July 2014, as mentioned elsewhere, Ferg had the opportunity to sing with the lovely Clare Bowditch at The Gov in Adelaide. Clare is a genuinely lovely human being and she was so warm and welcoming of Ferg’s hastily-thrown-together gospel quartet (featuring Ferg’s daughter Rachel Ferguson, his kinda-sorta daughter Lily Wicks and the inimitable Luke Thompson). The snapshot below was taken backstage after the show (thanks Lily). If you haven’t seen the video, you can find it on YouTube by searching for “One Little River Fergus Maximus Clare Bowditch”. Or, you know, click here. That works too.

Ferg&Clare

 
Megan Washington‘s “There There” is Ferg’s favourite album of 2014. This shot was taken by @ashlyferg after Washo’s album-launch gig at Adelaide Uni Bar in August (Ferg hadn’t been there in 15 years but ended up returning a few weeks later to bid a bittersweet farewell to Bluejuice). Meg was feeling pretty ordinary that night but soldiered on and even hung around afterwards because she is a super trouper. The highlight was a solo version of Cement (with full audience participation, of course). She almost didn’t do it because she said it was a “terrible idea”. Best. Terrible. Idea. Ever.

Ferg&Meg

 
On 25 October 2014, Ferg took part in Welcome To Australia‘s “Walk Together” event, playing congas in Rundle Park, Adelaide to help welcome the thousands of people marching to say we want to change the conversation surrounding refugees and asylum seekers. He had the chance to meet the charming Wally De Backer (aka Gotye) who had flown over to lend his voice to the cause. Technically, I guess you could say Ferg shared the stage with Gotye but they were on that stage at different times. The shot below illustrates beautifully why Ferg doesn’t usually post selfies.

Wally&Wally

What We’ve Been Up To All This Time – Episode 7 (Part B)

Like we said. So many gigs.

The Angels launched their killer new album “Talk The Talk” at Jive

Angels2

 
You Am I rocked Memorial Drive after the opening of the redeveloped Adelaide Oval. In fact, they rocked so ferociously that the security guy achieved a momentary state of serene calm. (Spiderbait were on first and they were seriously great too).

You Am I2

 
Things of Stone and Wood re-formed to celebrate 25 years since the release of their debut album at The Gov (and as a special treat for the Adelaide crowd, Seven Stories also re-formed just for the night).

Things of Stone and Wood

 
Ferg’s brother, the absurdly talented and even more hard-working Mark Simeon Ferguson, launched his new project, a 19-piece Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra called Orquesta Mermelada, at Nexus.

Orquesta Mermelada

 
Courtney Robb launched her terrific new album “Into The Dark” at the Grace Emily.

Courtney Robb

 
And to top it all off, Ferg was treated to a masterclass in being a frontman by Mick Jagger, lead singer in some obscure little band you’ve probably never heard of (the tickets were Ferg’s Christmas/Birthday present from @ashlyferg). The Stones had originally been booked to play at the opening of the redeveloped Adelaide Oval in March but circumstances conspired against them and it was a nervous wait until October when they made good on the promise (since they are, collectively, about 250 years old). Well worth the wait.

The stones

What We’ve Been Up To All This Time – Episode 7 (Part A)

So. Many. Gigs.

Wow. It was a huge year for seeing live music. A handful of lovely memories are illustrated below.

Cat Dog Bird‘s launch gig for their wonderful “Headfirst Into The Riddle” album.

CatDogBird

 
The Brouhaha (Kelly Breuer) with special guest Jenny Biddle at The Wheaty for the Feelgood Folk record label launch.

Kelly & Jenny

 
Kel & Jenny were followed by the raucous, joyous madness of The Timbers.

Timbers

 
Cyclone Ronnie (aka Ronnie Taheny) performed her annual gig at The Gov.

Ronnie

 
And then there was WOMADelaide. Oh boy. Ngaiire was a pocket powerhouse (but is super sweet in person).

Ngaire

 
Megan Washington previewed tracks from her (at the time) impending new album.

Meg2

 
And after more than twenty years, Ferg finally had the chance to see Arrested Development live. (Definitely worth the wait.)

Arrested Development

 
And then the wonderfully unpredictable Kate Miller-Heidke performed with Keir Nuttall at The Famous Spiegeltent. Wonderful.

Kate MH

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