MAY Featured Artists
Folk-pop crooner Duff Ferguson is a familiar face around the Los Angeles roots rock scene, having rode in crap tour vans, recorded alongside, jammed with, photographed, danced with the wives of and bought PBRs for most everybody in 20 years of California music.
These days you’ll find him performing alone on a vintage parlor guitar, singing lovely songs of loss, loose songs of love and portraits of life drawn from the many characters he’s met in a lifetime of traveling America’s dustier corners.
Duff was born in New York City to a family of classical musicians and raised in rural New Jersey. After time spent playing in New York City and San Francisco, Duff fell in with Americana roots artist Rich McCulley, joining his band as a lead guitar player for over 50,000 miles of national touring and promo appearances in a battered Ford Windstar minivan.
Duff later joined an exodus of Bay Area musicians to Los Angeles. Within a month, Duff fell in cahoots with bass player Rick Barrio Dill (Vintage Trouble), drummer George Bernardo (Cash’d Out, Evangenitals) and vocalist Teri Untalan – a band that was captured in the five song EP “400 Miles” that was named a top 25 release for 2005 by Music Connection Magazine.
Duff began a series of “jive and drive” solo tours of colleges, listening rooms and house concerts all the way from the Mexican border right up to Bellingham, WA and out east to Texas and Arizona, playing on live television and radio along the way. His track “Suddenly” was used on MTV.
All this traveling and music making led to Duff’s next record “Good Things,” released in 2008 on Single Recordings. Strange coincidences and handshakes made in dark bars led to many of his favorite lights in the LA roots scene joining in the record: Rick Barrio Dill, Mike Stinson, Tony Gilkyson, Tommy Rickard, Todd Herfindal, Kevin Houlihan, Rob Douglas, Heather Waters, Rich McCulley, Amy Farris, Taras Prodaniuk, Carmen Doane and Jared Barkan.
In 2014, Duff began issuing a series of about a dozen unreleased songs starting with the track “Interstellar Poetry” mixed with the occasional video and the odd ukelele. These recordings showcased a stripped down sound with only acoustic guitar and voice performed live to “tape,” a style that Duff soon came to focus on in public performances as well.
The record “My Story Is The Same” (2018), produced by Ted Wulfers and Todd Herfindal, featured 9 such tracks that showcase pop melodies combined with a driving rhythmic acoustic style and soulful topics.
The warm reception to this new sound led Duff Ferguson to his next solo acoustic record “More Than I Should,” released in 2019. It is a 10-track acoustic bonanza that once again captures Duff performing alone with a humble 1960s student guitar into 3 vintage mics. It hit #8 on the Alternative Folk Charts.
Duff is currently at work on his seventh record, working once again with Wulfers and Herfindal, slated for 2020 release. He and songwriter Tom Bishel have released an EP of rock co-writes also recorded at Wulfers’ 663 Sound Studio under the name Origin Story.
Duff has produced recordings for artists such as Jared Barkan and Kim DiVine. He has co-written songs with Simon Lynge, Todd Herfindal, Rich McCulley, Allan Frank and Tom Bishel.
Duff has also helped several hundred artists design artwork and create photos/video for their music releases, including The Spencer Davis Group, The Meadows, David Serby, Grant Langston and Rich McCulley to name a few.
Hailing from Fresno, California, the raisin capital of the world, Tom Bishel can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t singing. While singing along with the radio and playing with his Hot Wheels at the age of three, a family friend said, “That boy has got perfect pitch.”
Tom probably got that from listening to his parents singing in the church choir. “Mom always sang the harmony, so I really picked up on that from the beginning.” Tom further developed his vocal style under the tutelage of San Jose’s Verlene Schermer, and later LA’s Steven Memel.
Tom has his uncle to thank for his first guitar – a 60’s Epiphone. Tom took it from there, got himself a chord book, and started learning the classics: Led Zep, Pink Floyd, and the Beatles. He is now the proud owner of a dozen guitars, including a classic Les Paul.
Tom led several bands and played throughout San Jose’s busy coffeehouse scene. After a stint as the lead singer for a powerpop band, Tom fled the Silicon Valley and set his sights on Los Angeles in 2001. He has scored three short films, including the festival-award-winning In Order of Appearance, for which he also served as musical director. He and his Parallel Motion Music partners got a tune into the film Cold Ones, starring C. Thomas Howell, and he wrote a song that was featured on Playboy Satellite Radio’s Playmate Hour.
Tom loves listening to Neil Finn, Tears for Fears, the Beatles, James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, and Led Zeppelin, and their influences can be heard in his music. Tom was fortunate enough to get a speeding ticket (full grateful irony to be read into those words), which prompted him to attend traffic school, where he met fellow lawbreaker and Golden-Globe-winning, Oscar-nominated composer Arthur Hamilton. They hit it off and have written several songs together. He has also collaborated with Sue Ennis of Heart/The Lovemongers fame.
Tom has been working with producer Ted Wulfers on his newest material, including collaborations with Patricia Bahia, Kenny Segal (Mark Hart), and Khoi Huynh (The Corner Laughers), and a song written with Evan Blum and Allan Rich, a two-time Academy Award nominee in addition to his Grammy and Golden Globe nominations, whose songs have sold over 65 Million copies. Also, forthcoming is an EP in collaboration with Duff Ferguson.
Tom lives in Los Angeles with his wife Heidi, a novelist, and their rescued senior dogs. When he isn’t in the studio, he likes to travel, hike, and binge-watch Seinfeld reruns.