Andy Ferrell and Oncoming Train
Andy Ferrell is one of the new blood of singer, songwriter and
multi-instrumentalists to emerge in the High Country over the last year or so.
Ferrell is well-versed in the fiddle tunes that came out of this area, which he learned while growing up with a father who is an accomplished finger-pick guitarist. These days, however, he concentrates on being a composer of original music that is contemporary, while still being informed by the mountain tunes on which he was raised.
Ferrell has developed a following in and around Boone by performing often, and the next few weeks is no exception, as he will be playing at Hotel Tavern in West Jefferson on May 23 at 7 p.m. and Appalachian Mountain Brewery on May 30 at 7:30 p.m.
Ferrell and his band, Oncoming Train, which includes bassist Zack Smith and fiddler Kate Rudy, will also perform at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock on May 26. Furthermore, he will be playing on the radio on WDVX’s “Blue Plate Special” show at noon in Knoxville, Tenn., on June 2, which will be broadcast online at http://www.wdvx.com.
One of Ferrell’s earliest musical inspirations was the late and great High Country legend, Doc Watson.
“His music is what I grew up with, really,” Ferrell said. “I always heard it, even though it took me a little while to get into it like I am now. As long as I can remember, I was going to MerleFest and seeing Doc at MerleFest and at Sugar Grove. We used to live in Seven Devils, and there was this little park across the street, and they had some concerts there, and I saw Doc there at least once that I can remember.
"Even though I didn’t know that I was going to love that kind of music, that it was going to grow on me, I still think it had a big effect on me while listening to it at such a young age. It was like he was speaking my language, because he was from right around here, and it just made sense to me. I could relate to it. I could feel it. I understood the places that he was talking about. I understood the kinds of people that he was talking about, just from being here in the mountains and growing up around it.”
After Ferrell became proficient on the guitar, he began to write new songs. Some of his songwriting heroes include his favorite, Townes van Zandt, along with other artists, such as Guy Clark, John Prine, Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen.
As for Ferrell’s musical path, it was a little crooked. Eventually, he enrolled at Florida State University and then switched to Eastern Tennessee State University’s music program. But he decided to break away from his formal education, so he could get his feet wet while experiencing the life of a professional musician.
“It was positive, and it is a good program, and it is awesome in that it brings so many traditional music-inspired musicians together,” Ferrell said of his time at Eastern Tennessee State University. “But I think the thing that I realized, or what I felt as far as what I needed to do, was that I just need to do it. It is a matter of sitting down and writing songs and traveling and playing for people, which is working better for me so far.”
For more information, or to give Ferrell a listen, visit http://www.andyferrellmusic.com.