WENDELL FERGUSON IS THE SIX-TIME CANADIAN COUNTRY MUSICIAN'S ASSOCIATION GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR. ACCORDING TO THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, KATHERINE WHEATLEY IS "A PERFORMER TO KEEP YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT". They are best of musical pals. Her heartfelt lyrics and stunning voice and his honest yet irreverent humor make their show both moving and hilarious. One presenter said "An absolutely transcendent concert". Another said "She didn't leave a dry eye in the house. He didn't leave a dry seat".
Six time CCMA Guitar Player of the Year, Wendell Ferguson has traveled the globe and accompanied a veritable who's who in both the country field - (George Fox, Duane Steele, Tommy Hunter, Shania Twain, The Dixie Chicks) and the folk arena - (Gordon Lightfoot, Quartette, Bob Snider, Cindy Church). He is one of the best loved and most respected guitar players in Canada. Wendell performs his own, very funny songs at Folk Festivals and concert series. "The man writes sharp, witty and head-spinningly brilliant tunes. He's a cross between Roger Miller and Ray Flack. He has more in common with Mark Twain than Shania". (Twangzine). "The Victor Borge of the guitar." According to Country Music News "Wendell Ferguson is recognized by his peers as one of the top pickers in the country and known best as having one of the quickest wits in the game. A talented and funny guy to say the least."
Arresting vocals, fine guitar playing and a 'down to earth' feel that some attribute to her years working as a geologist, mark Katherine's work. As well as touring extensively, she has written music for film and television documentaries and has been a musical guest on many shows, including CTV's Canada AM and CBC Radio's Vinyl Cafe. Hubert O'Hearn of the The Chronicle Journal in Thunder Bay wrote "Katherine Wheatley is able to take minor observations in life and find their soul. On stage...she exudes sheer kindness and love. Blessedly, refreshingly, Katherine Wheatley is a truly Canadian original". According to Warren Footz of SEE Magazine "...man, can this serene red head ever play guitar".
Please note that Katherine and Wendell also give songwriting and guitar workshops (at schools and music stores). Please e-mail email@example.com for more information about workshops.
(FOR INDIVIDUAL BIOS, AUDIO SAMPLES AND THE ARTIST'S FULL CONCERT CALENDERS PLEASE SEE WWW.WENDELLFERGUSON.COM AND WWW.SONICBIDS.COM/KATHERINEWHEATLEY)
Katherine and Wendell have performed many places between them. Here are just a few to give you an idea of the sort of place they play:
Charles Stockey Centre, Parry Sound, ON
Mariposa Folk Festival, ON
Black Sheep Inn, Wakefield, PQ
Kingfest, King City, ON
Winnipeg Folk Festival, M
Folk Under the Clock, Peterborough, ON
The Nickelodeon, Calgary, AB
Prazdniny v Telci, Czech Republic
Hugh's Room, Toronto, ON
Rogue Folk Club, Vancouver, BC
Heartland Concerts, Rochester, NY
Orangeville Opera House, Orangeville, ON
AFM National Convention, Las Vegas, NV
Irish Mountain House Concert Series, Meaford, ON
Nantucket Arts Council Concerts, Nantucket, MA
Summerfolk, Owen Sound, ON
Hillside Music Festival, Guelph, ON
Wendell Ferguson - acoustic guitar and voice
Katherine Wheatley - acoustic guitar and voice
Please see artist's own websites for their discography.
They both play on the Betty and the Bobs CD.
Wendell accompanies Katherine on both her releases ("Straight Line" and "Habits and Heroes") and Katherine accompanies Wendell on his live recording ("The $#!T Hits the Fans").
Hallellujah - from Katherine's new CD Landed
Cascade - Instrumental from Wendell's live cd. He's picking, Wheat's strumming.
99 Feet of Snow - one of Katherine's winter songs.
Great Big Johnson - a very funny song from Wendell's LIVE CD. He's singing and picking, Wheat strumming.
Some Sweet Country - Katherine singing and picking, Wendell's on electric.
Wendell Ferguson CD reviews
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Wendell Ferguson Review of 2006 release: The $#!T Hits the Fans Ferguson has long been a behi...Wendell Ferguson
Review of 2006 release:
The $#!T Hits the Fans
Ferguson has long been a behind-the-scenes force in Canadian country music playing with or backing most every country star in the business...and finally getting some up-front exposure as the 'guitar-playing troubadour' on the 2005 Canadian Country Music Awards Show. Ferguson is also a recording artist...but with a slant. His albums (this is his third) feature the comic side of the man...and his sense of humour and ability to put that into a song is unparalleled in today's Canadian country music. What he does here is on a level of Nashville's Cledus T. Judd (but with a Canuck twist)
On The $#!T Hits The Fans, Wendell Ferguson is absolutely hilarious with songs like P-I-G, a parody of Tammy Wynette's D-I-V-O-R-C-E, and rib-jarring wacky tunes like Great Big Johnson, Don't Close The Door, Didn't Chew, The Barnyard Two-Step and every musician's theme song,k Capo. All the songs on the album deserve to be given some in-depth dissection here...but that would take most of the fun out of the listening.
The only thing missing here is one of those annoying 'hidden tracks'...but I'm still looking and listening. Knowing Wendell Ferguson there's just gotta be one around here somewhere.
Reviews of Wendell's CD:
"Happy Songs Sell Records, Sad Songs Sell Beer"
COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS
CD Review - WENDELL FERGUSON - Happy Songs Sell Records, Sad Songs Sell Beer
…into every country music fan’s life, a little fun must come !!
Leave it to Wendell Ferguson to look after that special need; and he provides a full-hour of jocular levity with this amazing collection of tongue-in-cheek. The Toronto-based Ferguson has long established himself as one of Canadian country music’s most versatile performers, much-awarded for his guitar and production skills, and while he’ll never challenge the “George’s” of country music with his vocal work, he is quite capable of delivering his own material with the special flare that it calls for.
There’s no end to the chuckles here, mostly because Wendell Ferguson is able to creatively twist a familiar country song or phrase, or situation into his own domain, inject his own play-on-words; and make it all sound fresh and funny. You get a taste of what this is all about in a brief intro skit where a rowdy shouts a request out to the singer “…hey, broken nose, play Wildwood Flower”. The singer says, “…my nose ain’t broken”. Then you here a fist planted on the singer’s beak…and then you hear some Wildwood Flower guitar pickin’ !!
Wendell Ferguson writes his songs with a warped pen…and there’s no end to the man’s wit. The liner notes in the album contain a brief description of each song, and they are as hilarious as the songs themselves. Example: for the song Firmly On The Fence, a song about procrastination; he says: “I couldn’t decide whether or not to put this one the record…”
The album’s title track tune, Happy Songs Sell Records, Sad Songs Sell Beer speaks of the dilemma facing country music recording artists today; She’s Got Herself A Redneck Now gives a whole new meaning to the term “redneck”; while Marriage Ain’t A Word, It’s A Sentence is best described by Wendell Ferguson himself when he says: “…we got married in the bathtub – it was a double ring ceremony”.
Every song is a hoot here, but there are some that really stand out. Talk Hockey is all about being Canadian; and this one deserves to get some radio airplay (not a priority in Wendell Ferguson’s world); while The Thirst and I’ll Get Over Bluegrass (When There’s Bluegrass Over Me) owe allegiance to the past hits by George Jones – The Thirst for the obvious Possum connection, and Bluegrass, for it’s likeness to the Jones classic, When The Grass Grows Over Me.
There’s plenty more in between here (just check the songlist), but the album closes with a jazz-flavored instrumental version of The Carter Family nugget Wildwood Flower; and it is probably included as an apology of sorts to the song I Liked Johnny Better (When He Left June At Home) which appeared on Wendell Ferguson’s 1998 debut collection of mayhem, I Pick Therefore I Jam.
Happy Songs Sell Records, Sad Songs Sell Beer was produced by Wendell Ferguson (who else), and recorded at various studios in S/W Ontario. His own guitar virtuosity is supported by ace-session players like John Dymond (bass), Doug Johnson (steel), Burke Carroll (dobro), Don Reed (fiddle), Steve O’Connor (keyboards) and b/g vocals by John and Michele Law, etc…and in true fashion, Wendell Ferguson pays tribute to them with his liner-note quip: “…there are many dips on the road to success; I’m so glad I got to play with them”.
of "I Pick Therefore I Jam"
Thunder Bay's "Chronicle Journal"
The current object of adoration is Katherine Wheatley, who gave a concert this past Friday evening on the Auditorium's "Stage Door" setting, ably accompanied by 6-time Canadian Country Music Association's Guitarist of the Year, Wendell Ferguson. Ferguson is the perfect foil for Wheatley. His comic number "Rocks and Trees", should be the national anthem for Northern Ontario if we ever rise up and separate. Plus anyone who can instantly turn the title of "Fly Me to the Moon" into the anguishing pun of "Fry Me up a Loon" will always hold a fond place in my memory.
From "The Record" in Guelph.
A review of Katherine Wheatley's show.
...Her set was punctuated by a couple of numbers by her accompanist, guitar ace Wendell Ferguson, a veteran of the Canadian music scene whose credits include performing with Quartette, Gordon Lightfoot and others. Ferguson regaled the Arkell audience with his humorous ditty Rocks & Trees, Trees & Rocks and Fret No More a wonderful instrumental tribute to Chet Atkins (who died last June 30), which he delivered in a liquid-lightning fingerpicking style worthy of the legendary guitarist. It was an added thrill to be able to watch Ferguson play in such an intimate concert setting.
Review by Stewart Fenwick (...to Country Music and More)
I Pick Therefore I Jam—Wen Hel Freezes Music
I’ve attended several Country Music Awards weekends in Canada, and I have come to the conclusion that Wendell Ferguson is the type of guy that keeps the country scene alive. I think everyone involved in the country music scene in Canada is a personal friend of Wendell, and indeed has he has played in their band. He pops up everywhere, pickin’ his guitar for everyone.
I was particularly pleased to hear this album because it brought him to the fore, and, what a good album it is. All the songs were written (or co-written) by Ferguson—he produced it, and played a fair share of the licks.
As you’ll see from the track listing, there are some very clever song titles, and his comments on the sleeve notes are just as catchy.
Of the music, “This Unemployment Just Ain’t Working” , is particularly bouncy, “Boneless Chicken” is a superb little instrumental, “ Serious Foolin’ Around” has a neat Cajun feel to it, whilst “If You’re Gonna Be A Cowboy”, is a duet with Prairie Oyster’s Russell De Carle, and what a great voice Russell has for lending a western touch.
This album has everything: western, Cajun, Great pickin’, fun songs . Wendell has been working on this album for a long time. It’s been worth the wait.
Wendell Ferguson - "I Pick Therefore I Jam"
by Wray Ellis
Chances are good you've never heard of Wendell Ferguson. Chances are even better though, that if you've heard any country albums recorded in Canada, you've heard his guitar playing. Ferguson has been the reining Guitarist of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards for as long as most folks can remember. He's considered by many to be the Nation-to-the-North's best country picker. So why, I asked myself, did he release an album as a singer? He's the first to admit he's got a sick voice". But, when you put I Pick Therefore I Jam into the tray and push play... it all starts to become clear. The man writes sharp, witty and head-spinningly brilliant tunes. And then there's his playing...
"I write these...silly songs. I don't know whether country radio will play 'em or not. The American counterpart of what I do, I think, is Junior Brown. Funny, quirky songs with a lot of guitar playin'." He doesn't get airplay either. He's not on the airwaves, you know. He's like a cult thing. Everybody buys him and plays him - but radio doesn't.
Already a seasoned producer and session picker, Ferguson has graduated to the ranks of songwriter with his killer debut album. "I'll Pick" includes such ironic ditties as "This Unemployment Just Ain't Workin'", "Serious Fooling Around" and an ode to the good old days before Johnny Cash met up with June Carter in a sentimental salute called "I Liked Johnny Better (when he left June at home)". If I had to make a comparison, I'd say Roger Miller meets Ray Flack. Happily, he's got a lot more in common with MARK Twain...than Shania.
"I'm drawn towards singer-songwriters, you know. John Hiatt puts a lot of time in on my stereo. That Little Village album. I know it's old, but I love that stuff. Big Al Anderson, who's written a lot of songs with Carlene Carter and a few other things, he's had some big hits. He put out his own album last year. And I sort of patterned myself in that kind of thing like, he's not a killer singer, but he writes cool songs. He's a great guitar player and the thing's got a lot of balls. Southern Culture on the Skids, they're real rangy, real white trash kind of music. And then, anything with guitar. All those old Buddy Charlton and Leon Rhodes from Ernest Tubbs' stuff. All the guitar and steel duos, Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant. I got all that. Last Christmas I got a Buck Owens box set, and I'm so into Don Rich. I just love the guy. He's the twang master! And, they had so many hits. I mean, I was always into Buck Owens but hearing them back to back it's like, oh my God! He had a lot of hits all through the 60's and 70's. My wife keeps me abreast of the modern stuff 'cause she listens to those stations. But, I love the old stuff."
Guitarists will find lots to like on this album. Beside Ferguson's fleet-fingered fret work, there are some delicious photos of some classic guitars - all from his vast collection. They're weathered and tarnished with finishes that are beautifully crackled. So, which is his favorite?
"Favourite guitar? Oh, geez, I've got too many. I love Telecasters. I've got 7 of them and everybody says why?. Some of them do different jobs. I've got one with a b-bender that I use with a lot of Duane Steele's gigs. I have a couple of old ones that I won't even take on sessions. They're just too precious. I've got some utility Teles, and I've got a couple of collector pieces that are so clean that it's like, why take them out to a gig and ruin them. I've got beautiful old Gibsons and a few nice acoustics and other stuff. Pedal steel, I've got a '64 P-bass. You know...banjo, mandolin, ukelele, lap steel, all that kind of stuff. I'm an instrument freak. I love 'em. I don't speculate though, I fall in love with them. I tell my wife 'it's an investment, honey' and then I fall in love with them. She says it's only an investment if you sell. I just never do!" (laughs)
Besides writing all the songs, arranging the charts, producing the sessions, and coordinating the printing and pressing of the disks, Wendell Ferguson is now tackling one of the toughest jobs in the music industry. He's an independant artist. That's a euphemism for struggling.
"At this point, it's hard to get distribution. I've been turned down by all the majors. Well, not ALL the majors. One of them won't return my calls. (laughs) But, you can order it on the internet. I have a web page: www.wendellferguson.com. Or, you can write me direct and order it. If radio picks it up, that's great. If they don't, well that's okay too. I'd just like a little career. The sort of Junior Brown thing. You have a little cult following, play the major cities, sell a few records and do what you want. I know I'm not a great singer. But the material makes people laugh. And that's REALLY what it's all about."
WENDELL FERGUSON - Country/Comedy
I PickTherefore I Jam Wen Hell Freezes Music-002
This Toronto country comic is his own best critic. Well, at least he lays it all out for us listeners to agree or disagree, or at least give it a listen, and that's the clincher. Take his duet with Prairie Oyster's Russell deCarle on If You're Gonna Be A Cowboy for instance. You'll get a great bellyroll as you two-step this one.
Here's Ferguson's JAM recipe "Take 13 original songs. Add a few award winning co writers like Tim Taylor and Naoise Sheridan (Serious Foolin' Around and Cowboy For Goodbye). Pepper the songs with plenty of puns and paradox. Add a dash of double entrendre. Lace liberally with way too much humour. Mix with great musicians and solid arrangements. Stir and bring to a boil. Garnish with guest voices like Prairie Oyster's Russell deCarle or Don Neilson. Don't torget plenty of guitar. Serve it up hot and smokin. It's good anytime. Contains no angst. It has been tested on animals, and they seemed to like it."
All tracks are radio friendly. Great get-up-in-the morning material. Ferguson's wearing his country club vocal hat with that no-fooling projection that's unmistakably his musical signature. For starters, among those mentioned above, try on One Tequila, Two Tequila,ThreeTequila, Floor, Bonelesschicken and I Liked Johnny Better. As a matter of fact, take it from the top. You won't be disappointed. Self-produced and all tracks are 100 per cent MAPL. -WG
COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS
by Larry Delaney
WENDELL FERGUSON "I Pick Therefore I Jam"
Wen Hel Freezes Music-WHFCD002
Produced by Wendell Ferguson
(13 Selections-Playing time 45:18)
I'll Pick / Cowboy For Goodbye / Serious Foolin' Around / 1-Tequila, 2-Tequila, 3-Tequila...Floor / If You're Gonna Be A Cowboy / Rocks And Trees / Diamond One The One / Ruth And Lorne / Luck Of The Drawl / This Unemployment Just Ain't Workin' / I Liked Johnny Better / The Laws Of Science / Boneless Chicken
Toronto-based Wendell Ferguson is a Canadian music industry "secret" - recognized by his peers as one of the top guitar pickers in the country: a sideman for George Fox and Duane Steele; A front-man not too long ago for the group Coda The West: and known best perhaps as having one of the "quickest wits" in the game. A talented and funny guy to say the least.
While all of his talents have helped carve an "industry" niche, Wendell Ferguson remains as a relatively unheard name to radio fans -- and this typically tongue-in-cheek material may keep his anonymity intact. That would be a pity, because the songs are edgy and quirky enough to draw a chuckle while at the same time make you tap your feet...two things that seem to have gone missing in many of today's assembly line album productions.
Wendell Ferguson has written all tunes (two are co-written) and it's a challenge to catch all of his lyrical wit, irony, and double meaning catchphrases...but it's fun trying. It is probably no coincidence that there are thirteen songs on I Pick Therefore I Jam. Even the album's title has a Wendellian play on words.
Several tunes standout. There's a hilarious duet with Prairie Oyster's Russell deCarle in If You're Gonna Be A Cowboy (complete with a High Noon theme) - a video on this would be a hoot!
I Liked Johnny Better (a Johnny Cash "tribute" song, is so honest it makes you go "uh-huhî in confirming the irreverent lyric; " I liked Johnny better, when he left June at home..." Uh-Huh !!
The song Rocks And Trees was probably born from too many Trans-Canada Hwy. tours; while This Unemployment Just Ain't Workin', The Luck Of The Drawl and 1-Tequila, 2-Tequila, 3-Tequila, Floor are all Wendell Ferguson at his twisted best!!
While the lyrical content of I Pick Therefore I Jam may focus on Wendell Ferguson's natural-born bizarre side, everything else here is dead serious; from the outstanding session work by Ferguson (confirming why he is an award-winning guitarist), accompanied by the current Who's Who of Canadian session players; right down to the crafty graphics on the liner sleeve and the disc itself that will warrant Album Graphics award consideration.
REAL MUSIC MAGAZINE
I PICK THEREFORE I JAM
WEN HEL FREEZES MUSIC
I've had this CD for about 2 weeks now, and every time I even think about this gem, I smile. WENDELL was recently voted the top guitarist in Canada by the CANADIAN COUNTRY MUSIC ASSOCIATION. This will make it the fourth time for WENDELL. Is he bored by all these accolades? Not at all...it's more of a case of "what's all the fuss about?î. The guy just loves to play. He also loves to make people laugh. One might expect with all the back-patting he might get from his peer group, he would be tempted to release a guitar album somewhere in a cross between AL DIMEOLA and CHET ATKINS. One would hardly blame him if he were to put out some super guitar album, full of flash and fury. Instead, we have songs.
ACTUAL SONGS FOLKS!!!
Sure the lyrics are as skewed as WENDELLs humour, but even if through some miracle WENDELL could have written a solemn song lyric-wise, or gone the way of an instrumental album, the music and the musicianship would sell itself. I'm not even really sure WENDELL expects or hopes for radio play, but with the shear number of musical allies and out-and-out friends and fans he has across Canada he will sell many a thousand on that basis alone. Now as to the artwork, that in and of itself, is a joy. I am tempted to go into exactly what he's done here, but instead I've decided to just say this. We all keep hoping when we actually pull the CD off those horrible little teeth in the jewel case, (specifically made to scratch CD's within 3 times of use), we will see some inventive idea that makes us go AHHH...This time you will. as well the actual art itself is nothing short of amazing. This is a collector's item. Not because it's obscure, because it's just so darned good. My only hope is that this is just the first of many great albums by Canada's Premiere Country Guitarist.
starstarstarstarstar - "out of 5 stars"
COUNTRY WAVE MAGAZINE
I PICK THEREFORE I JAM
WEN HEL FREEZES MUSIC
Let me introduce this guy with a quote from his bio: "these aren't songs... they're punchlines set to music." Those words came from the president of the CCMA. Tom Tompkins, and are extremely accurate.
Wendell is a funny country singer, songwriter and guitar player. Actually, all the comedy aside, his guitar work is great, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. He's recorded with Duane Steele, Gil Grand, George Fox, Gordon Lightfoot Jane Siberry and many others. Now he's trying his hand at his own brand of country with the help of Don Neilson and Prairie Oyster's Russell deCarle. Call it a novelty album if you must, but it's pretty darn solid.
"I'll Pick" is a great start to this disc. Wendell's fingers are on fire as he "picks". In it he has to make the choice between his guitar and his girl. He says,"he's always had an eye for curved bodies and slender necks" Take that any way you like.
"Cowboy For Goodbye" is a great string song. The fiddles, mandolin and guitar are the highlights of this one. Ferguson lined up a cookin' band for this disc, and "Serious Foolin' Around" shows off his Squeeze Box player in fine fashion.
"1 Tequila, 2 Tequila, 3 Tequila...Floor is exactly the kind of song you'd expect after reading the opening quote of this review. Comedy, comedy, guitar...nuff said. I could carry on this way about each song on I Pick Therefore I Jam, but I won't. This is not just a novelty album, it's a country album with great musicians, production and songs.
(a German Publication)
Wendell Ferguson "I Pick Therefore I Jam"
Nach viermaliger Auszeichnong zum besten Gitar-risten in seiner Heimat war der Schritt ins Rampenlicht in eigener Person fur den in Toronto lebenden Kanadier langst uberfallig. Wendell Ferguson macht das auf gekonnte und uberzeugende Weise mit einem horenswerten Debutalbum. Mag sich auch so mancher seiner Songs beim erstmaligen Horen etwas eigentumlich anhoren, witzig und erfrischend auders sind sie allemal.Das gilt im besonderen fur das wunderbare Duette mit Russell deCarle (Prairie Oyster). Frohlich und ausgelassen singen sie in "If You're Gonna Be A Cowboy" uber den gar nicht immer so lustige Cowboy-Alltag. Eine Spassgarantie gibt es auch fur das aufrichtige Johnny Cash-Tribute "I Liked Johnny Better". Auch wenn sich so mancher Cash-Konzertbesucher am Ende doch noch bestatigt fuhlt, wenn Ferguson singt "I liked Johnny better, when he left June at home"
To the Top
Katherine Wheatley Concert Reviews
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"I'm in love...with the music of Katherine Wheat... "I'm in love...with the music of Katherine Wh..."I'm in love...with the music of Katherine Wheat...
"I'm in love...with the music of Katherine Wheatley. A verse into her first song "Mrs. McIvor", I was hooked. Being a KW virgin, I was totally unprepared for the absolute beauty of her voice and lyrics".
FOLKSPOKE, Barrie, ON
"This is a performer to keep you on the edge of your seat"!
THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, Ottawa, ON
"Wheatley, sporting a beautiful voice and heady guitar work, brought the house down with her stunningly intimate musical meanderings. Her voice and guitar work drew the crowd in from the moment she started to sing. Her witty repartee gave these songs a footing from whence to fly. And fly she did"!
THE EXAMINER, Peterborough, ON
"...an absolutely transcendent concert...she exudes sheer kindness and love...blessedly, refreshingly, a truly Canadian original".
THE CHRONICLE JOURNAL, Thunder Bay, ON
"When she started her first song, the audience knew that it would be a most unusual concert. Alternately entertaining the sold-out crowd with insightful and humourous vignettes, or simply leading off with her marvelous guitar work, Wheatley took her listeners on an enthralling adventure".
CARLYLE OBSERVER, Carlyle, SK
"Wheatley's songs have intermingling themes of underdogs and unlikely heroes all set against a Canadian small town landscape. From LTD's, Pontiacs and hand gesturing out of a pick-up truck to the neighbours gossiping about an eccentric, yet tenacious old Mrs. McIvor and a very self-conscious game of spin the bottle in a snowmobile suit, her songs are vivid, familiar and engaging".
THE ECHO, Guelph, ON
"The house concert featuring Katherine Wheatley & Wendell Ferguson was better than a solid night's sleep. For the night to be so magical, so memorable, so perfect, it is important to talk more about Katherine's music. Lyrically, her songs are thoughtful and reflective, sometimes funny...often poignant...Melodically and harmonically, all of her songs were beautifully crafted and expertly performed. But it's her performance of the songs that remains so memorable for me".
OLD CHESTNUT NEWS, Kitchener, ON
"Man, can this serene red head ever play guitar".
SEE MAGAZINE, Edmonton, AB
Wendell and Wheat
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The current object of adoration is Katherine Wheatley, who gave a concert this past Friday evening o...The current object of adoration is Katherine Wheatley, who gave a concert this past Friday evening on the Auditorium's "Stage Door" setting, ably accompanied by 6-time Canadian Country Music Association's Guitarist of the Year, Wendell Ferguson. Ferguson is the perfect foil for Wheatley. His comic number "Rocks and Trees", should be the national anthem for Northern Ontario if we ever rise up and separate. Plus anyone who can instantly turn the title of "Fly Me to the Moon" into the anguishing pun of "Fry Me up a Loon" will always hold a fond place in my memory.
Wendell and Wheat house concert review
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In March of 2007, I had the good fortune to have the duo of Katherine Wheatley and Wendell Ferguson ...In March of 2007, I had the good fortune to have the duo of Katherine Wheatley and Wendell Ferguson perform at my home for a group of 40 of my friends.
I'm sure that there is no need for me to rattle on about the quality of the musical experience that we had. These two pros have reputations which dwarf anything that I might say about them, and they more than lived up to those reps. The concert had everything- virtuoso instrumental gymnastics, delicious vocals, piss-yourself humour, and gorgeous songs. My music-crazy friends left the house that night thrilled and satisfied, and many of them regard me as a lesser God now, for exposing them to Wendell and Katherine.
In forty years of concert-going, I've rarely had such a positive, fun, and fulfilling night of music, and I figure there are a number of reasons for this. First, of course, the quality of performance was stellar( I intend to see both of these artists again). But it was much more than that. At a house concert the level of intimacy with the performers is amazing. Everyone has a great seat, and everyone listens. Katherine and
Wendell brought people in close with their comfortable, conversational performance style, and made everyone feel a natural part of a terrific show.
A house concert is a wonderful way to enjoy live music, and in my experience it is not difficult to organize. Basically, you're asking your friends to chip in with you, usually about $15 each, to pay for a co-op music event. The infrastructure for the show is a small effort (chairs are the big deal, and making space), but only about the same level of work as a kid's birthday party, and well worth it. You can have a bit of fun with the creative end (lights, B.Y.O.B, maybe pot-luck snacks) but like family dinners, and other parties, these things always work out.
I would heartily recommend Katherine and Wendell for this type of concert. Besides their obvious amazing talent, they are incredibly easy to deal with and helpful in every way.
In my case, my first contact was with Wendell. I approached him about the concert, and he was very encouraging. We e-mailed a few times to find a date that worked, and then we were on!
Wendell and Katherine arrived in plenty of time, to set up and tune up,and they entertained and engaged my friends before, during and after their performance, and made me very proud to have invited them to my home ( and Wendell's personal hygiene was
better than one would expect).
I recently sat in a $160 seat, at the Air Canada Centre, and watched Billy Joel go through the motions for a stadium full of big spenders. My thoughts were,
"This guy doesn't even know I exist", and that frankly the sound in that place was just plain bad. I longed for the intimacy, the warmth, the clarity, and the comfort of my own home.
I've been spoiled. I wanted what Katherine and Wendell gave us at my house- a top notch, fulfilling music experience in the company of friends.
I treasure the memory of that March evening, and know that all the others who were present feel the same.
Attractive opposites Ferguson and Wheatley reward Registry audience
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February 14, 2010 By Robert Reid, Record staff KITCHENER – We’re all familiar with the two mask... February 14, 2010
By Robert Reid, Record staff
KITCHENER – We’re all familiar with the two masks of ancient Greek drama representing comedy and tragedy.
It might be a little over the top to suggest Wendell Ferguson and Katherine Wheatley wore the laughing face and the weeping face, respectively, for their concert Saturday at Folk Night at the Registry.
Still, it was definitely a case of opposites attracting and opposites being attractive to audience members.
While the extroverted Ferguson regaled the sellout crowd with musical satires and parodies, the introspective Wheatley mined the contours of a broken heart like a prospector panning for romantic gold.
The emotional ebb and flow made for a deeply rewarding concert, causing you to laugh out loud one minute before giving you pause to contemplate the mysteries of love the next.
Ferguson is a devilishly clever wordsmith, but his lyrical calisthenics are not ends in themselves. They provide the verbal framing for the musical houses he constructs with extraordinary guitar playing.
Many of his lyrical ditties referenced music, whether it was P-I-G, a parody of Tammy Wynette’s D-I-V-O-R-C-E, The Barnyard Two Step, Throw Another Fiddle on the Fire or Why Does Every Christmas Song Have So Many Chords?
Others lampooned such themes as bad driving (The Way I Drive) and the exaggerated claims of male anatomy set in cottage country (Great Big Johnson).
If Ferguson has a guitar hero it is Chet Atkins. He offered a couple of original instrumentals as tribute to the legendary Nashville musician and producer with Save Your Fork, There’s Pie and Fret No More, in addition to a cover of Mr. Sandman.
You would be wrong to think Ferguson only writes musical lampoons, even if he wouldn’t be caught dead singing one of them.
So it fell on Wheatley to deliver Wallflower Waltz, a country torch song the two musical companions co-wrote while touring Eastern Canada.
Most of Wheatley’s material was drawn from her hot-off-the-press third album Landed.
It has been a decade since she released Habits and Heroes. And she acknowledged it was “a personal album” that was “difficult to make.”
You don’t have to be a drugstore psychologist to garner from the songs that Landed was inspired by heartbreak.
But it’s a credit to Wheatley’s artistry as a songwriter that she has transformed personal sorrow into song poems with which we can all identify.
She painted her songs with a vocal palette spanning the emotional spectrum of colour, nuance, texture and depth.
She balanced the deep feeling of Signal Faded, Loved a Man, the 3:17 and the brilliant One True Kiss with the tongue-in-cheek revenge fantasy Run Away.
She also offered her joyous metaphorical tribute to gardening Hallelujah, as well as a couple of earlier songs Mrs. McIvor and Some Sweet Country.
Ferguson and Wheatley bantered and kibitzed throughout the concert. They kept the mood casual and informal and Wheatley welcomed audience members to join in on a few songs.
It was obvious both performers enjoyed themselves and that sense of pleasure was reciprocated by the audience who responded with a rousing standing ovation.
2-50 minute sets.
Mostly originals, some covers
Wendell's original songs are over-the-top funny ("
rib-jarring wacky tunes"); his instrumentals are awe-inspiring.
Katherine's songs are poignant and moving ("She is able to take minor observations in life and find their soul.")
There are no upcoming dates at this time.