Shaun Ferguson Takes Minimalist Approach With Music

Photo by Stéphane Levesque

With the release of his second full-length record, Résilience, Caraquet native Shaun Ferguson feels he is starting to find his way through his music. While he grew up embracing different styles of music – progressive rock among them – Ferguson has since embraced a distinctly international approach to creating original material.

Performing at Moncton’s Aberdeen Cultural Centre on Thursday Dec. 21, Ferguson’s music is comprised of a unique blend of flamenco, blues, and classical guitar. Rather than bogging down his music with labels, however, the musician simply insists he plays folk music.

“Folk music is the music of the people. To me, that is exactly what I am playing,” Ferguson says. “I want to make music that crosses multiple genres, something that can appeal to as wide of an audience as possible.”

Considering the strength of the material featured on Résilience, Ferguson should have little difficulty reeling in the diverse audience that he feels the album is best suited for.

Helping give the record an unexpected but delightful sort of twist is the fact that the bulk of the album is instrumental, placing an even greater emphasis on the instruments making up the soundscapes.

And while Ferguson’s guitar rightfully takes centre stage throughout the album’s 11 acoustic-based tracks, many of the songs have been beautifully embellished with the sounds cello, violin, and upright bass.

“Even when I would listen to music when I was young, I was never one to hone in on what the lyrics of the song were saying. I was all about the music and the melodies happening in the background. For what it’s worth, I’m still not much of a lyricist,” Ferguson says, laughing.

“Interestingly though, with the two songs on Résilience that feature vocals – ‘Le Chant d’Helium’ and ‘Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues,’ I approached singing these songs as though my voice was another stringed instrument. I wanted to keep that thread running throughout the entirety of the album.”

Since emerging onto the provincial music scene with his debut record in 2011, it is not just New Brunswickers taking notice of Ferguson’s talent. Over the course of the last six years, the musician has earned the acclaim of both concert goers and the press throughout the Maritimes, Quebec, and France.

This past November, Ferguson walked away with three awards at the annual FrancoFête en Acadie celebrations, including a prize given in memory of late Capitol Theatre Manager Marc Chouinard. The prize affords Ferguson the opportunity to participate in the Pause Guitare Festival being held in Albi, France in July 2018.

What: Shaun Ferguson with Les Paiens
When: Thursday Dec. 21, 6 p.m. (all ages) & 9 p.m. (licensed)
Where: Aberdeen Cultural Centre, 140 Botsford St., Moncton
Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Spin It Records, 467 Main St., Moncton