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Ian Ferguson Shares His 'Beautiful-Sounding Garage Record,' 'State of Gold': Album Premiere

Ian Ferguson
Mark Cluney

Ian Ferguson

When Ian Ferguson's teen band Kingston Springs called it quits a few years ago, Ferguson himself had no desire to pack it in. And his long-gestating solo career is finally yielding an album, State of Gold, out July 26 and premiering exclusively below.

"It's really a culmination of all the records I've listened to in my life," Ferguson tells Billboard about the nine-song set, a collection of harmony-laden, psychedelic-flavored melodic rock that references the Beatles, Brian Wilson and, he says, "all the things you can probably expect from hearing it. And the garage rock of the past decade or so was a big inspiration, too. There's a decent amount of that coming through Nashville that blew my mind open a little bit.

"So the kind of idea for the record was almost to make a beautiful-sounding record but with garage production. And I didn't have to try -- it really was recorded in a garage!"

State of Gold is also a one-man band project for Ferguson, whose late father Tom Ferguson was "a fantastic fiddle player" who instilled in his son a love of music that led to learning multiple instruments while growing up in Kingston Springs, Tenn. The band he and his friends formed during high school had toured extensively and "had a pretty sizable record deal on the table" when the group split up. And as he began making his own music, Ferguson became comfortable with working on his own.

"I had been in the band situation for so many years, so this was kind of my breakaway into seclusion in a sense," he explains. "I spent over a year by myself in my basement building these tracks one by one, and I loved it. I think collaboration is great. I think it's really important. But it's also important to explore your own creative tendencies and let yourself get a little wild with nobody there to pull you back in." Economics play a factor in that equation, too, Ferguson acknowledges.

"Doing it like this you do things maybe you wouldn't have done had you had some producer and were paying $100 an hour in a studio. I don't prefer that way of recording," he says. "This way I could spend days on something and trash it and bring it back and try something different. It really gives time for your natural personality to come out. By the end of it I had so many tracks; I just let myself go wild, and all of that came out in this weird, carnival album. I'm really proud of the result."

As State of Gold rolls out Ferguson's next goal is to "hit the road pretty hard" with his four-piece band, with dates lined up for August and the fall. But after taking so much time to get his solo career going in earnest he's also pushing to put out more music, and in relatively short order. "My personal preference will be put out as many records as I possibly can," he affirms. "I've had enough time between finishing this one that now I've got another one almost in the can. I just want to put out as much music as I can over the next few years. Three’s been a lot of learning curves, for sure, but now I have a fantastic band and a lot of songs, and more coming all the time. It's a good place to be in."


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