Steve Ferguson, Master Musician

By Jean Metcalfe

After two years of sponsoring New Sounds, a nationwide contest for new music, St. Francis High School looked in its own back yard to honor its first Master Musician. Playing in that back yard was musician-composer Steve Ferguson.

On April 15 Steve was the main attraction at the first Great Sounds concert which as held in the Bomhard Theatre at the Kentucky Center for the Arts

Wearing a funky jumpsuit tuxedo and a color Kente cloth Kufi, Ferguson demonstrated the considerable talent that had led to his selection. He performed several selections from his acclaimed Jack Salmon and Derby Sauce album some more recent originals and one or two old favorites from NRBQ days.

The autobiographical "Shake and Bake," said Ferguson, was written to reconcile the inherent differences in the marriage of a musician (Steve, the shaker) and a baker (his wife Robyn, a pastry chef).

The great sounds of "Hey now, baby, we gonna shake and bake" provided the impetus for students from St. Francis High School to move nearer the stage to do the … let's call it The Midwest Creole! (You should have your own dance, Steve.)

During a pause in the music, WFPK/WFPL General Manager Gerry Weston, the evening's master of ceremonies, introduced ear X-tacy owner John Timmons, who presented the 1993 Master Musician award to Ferguson. (WFPL and ear X-tacy were sponsors of the event.)

After asking for a hand for the "St. Francis High School Dance Ensemble," Timmons declared that he was going to gather up his own guitars and take them to the pawn shop.

He continued: "A lot of people are saying he's getting close ... In a lot of people's book, he's been at the top for a long time."

Steve graciously accepted the engraved silver mint julep cup as Great Sounds Master Musician"

"Thank you, thank you This is a wonderful surprise."

Steve, who had earlier heaped high praise on St. Francis High (We're dong a real good thing here, don't you think so?), said he would cherish the award and would have to share it with his musicians. Then he individually introduced each one as he brought them back onstage for a rousing encore, concluding with the closing number on his wonderful Jack Salmon & Derby Sauce album, "Hi De Ho."

If as a reviewer, I must find at least one fault with the evening, it would be this:

Steve didn't sing "Soul Waltz."

It was truly a great evening. Congratulation, Steve Ferguson, Master Musician.

Besides Ferguson, the Midwest Crole Ensemble consisted of Hunt butler, Miles Davis, Brian Kerr, Pat Lentz, Mark Richardson, Jeff Reyment and Timmy Turner. The Blue Angels Choir members were Harlen Brewer, Martha Brewer, Denny Enzer; Robyn Ferguson, Mike Hoerni, Jennifer Lauletta, Tony Lindauer, Rick O'Neil, Sue O'Neil and Kelly Wilkinson.

Steve Ferguson & the Midwest Creole Ensemble will be in concert at Uncle Pleasant's, 2126 S. Preston (one block north of Eastern Parkway) on Derby Eve, April 30.