Doug Ferony

 

Doug Ferony gives this venerated Jesse Stone R&B antique a lively reconception as an uptempo swing thing - and we think it's better than Ray Charles or Ry Cooder did it.
 

What do 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun', 'I Love Rock and Roll', Dazed and Confused', 'I Will Always Love You', 'Me and Bobby McGee', 'Blinded by the Light' and 'Superstition' all have in common? Despite the fact that each is a signature song (by Cindi Lauper, Joan Jett, Led Zeppelin, Whitney Houston, Janis Joplin, Manfred Mann and Stevie Wonder respectively), they are all covers! The instructive exercise here is to listen to the original tracks. Many of them are pretty unimpressive, barely significant as art in and of themselves. This points up the fundamental role of interpretation in the development of great music, and here Doug Ferony shines. It goes without saying that his band - which has in various formulations played many prestigious events - brings outstanding instrumental expertise. But the real magic here is its captain's baritone pipes, which supercharge the original material to a level that induces fervent audience involvement. Independent reporter Lily Clark recently caught up with the debonair showman to talk about his extensive career in music and ambitions for the coming year.

LILY: Let's just get this out in the open - what's the craziest thing that's happened to you in your music career?
DOUG: Over the last twenty years many crazy things have happened to me. A few come to mind. First, I was singing at a rooftop wedding on Lexington Ave. in New York City on a gorgeous night in July with a full moon that I’ll never forget. It was right in front of the Chrysler building with a hundred-fifty people; having a great time and covering 'New York, New York' from about forty-five floors up. Another time was playing at Central Park West, also about thirty-five floors up, directly overlooking Central Park... simply beautiful. But I think the show stopper - the craziest thing and also the most wonderful thing - was singing with my band on the back of a C17 airplane at McGuire air force base for the sixth airlift squadron's eightieth anniversary celebration. It was absolutely thrilling!

LILY: Your song ‘Smack Dab In The Middle’ is receiving a positive listener response on radio. What was your initial reaction when you first heard your song playing on radio?
DOUG: Very excited, as always. It’s great when you record and master a song and think it sounds really good - and so do the radio DJs and the public!

LILY: What was the inspiration behind your debut radio single?
DOUG: I’ve wanted to record a rockin’ blues song for a while and 'Smack Dab' seemed like the one for me to attempt. I love the music arrangement that my good friend and trombone player Rod Levitt put together for me and the band.

LILY: It is often said that great art arises from difficult experience. Is there something in your life experience thus far that you would describe as the ‘catalyst’ or ‘fuel’ for your desire to create music?
DOUG:The only thing I can say is that it has been a long road so far and I feel like I have been making a big pot of stew with my career! I have had many inspirations. I have also had loss in my life, and that wasn't easy to work through. The main fuel is to make great music for all ages to enjoy and relate to.

LILY: How would you characterize yourself as an artist/musician? (Ex. Down-to-earth, serious, fun-loving, complicated…)
DOUG: I would say down-to-earth and creative at times; but always passionate and fun-loving!!

LILY: What has your experience been like working with the other people on your team?
DOUG: Most of the time it’s great! I have been fortunate to work with people who take pride in their profession, and all in all that allows us to turn out great recordings and a great show.

 

LILY: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other musicians in your family?
DOUG: Yes; my father loved to play the folk guitar and sing. He was an inspiration for me to get into the music business. Although he never sang professionally he had a great voice and great talent for getting a crowd going!

LILY: What do you find most rewarding about being an artist? What do you find most challenging?
DOUG: Most rewarding is bringing joy to my audience. Seeing them smile and watching them sing along with me. Most challenging I would say is booking the right gigs and getting enough publicity to get people out to our shows.

LILY: Who are your role models in music?
DOUG: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Mario Lanza, James Brown, Jimmy Sturr, Bobby Darin, Buddy Rich, Elvis Presley, Louis Prima, Sachmo, Jo Stafford, Ella Fitsgerald, Rosemary Clooney.

LILY: Describe your best or most memorable performance.
DOUG: There have been many over the years and all for different reasons. But I think to date, one of the most memorable performances was performing on the back of the C17 at McGuire AFB for the sixth airlift squadron. Being born on America’s birthday I am a tried and true patriot, and this was an incredible opportunity for me to give back to the men and women who do so much for our country.

LILY: What advice would you give to young, aspiring artists out there who are unsure and need guidance?
DOUG: Stay with the type of music you love. Find someone who is successfully doing that style and learn what you can. Become a friend if possible. Keep practicing and never stop trying! And if you need a little motivation, listen to my version of 'You Will Be My Music'!

LILY: What's next for you as an artist? Is there a new single in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?
DOUG: I’ve recorded eleven albums, and yes we are actually recording a new one now with many classic songs. We have some great arrangements we're putting a new spin on. We also have a new single coming out this summer that we're very excited about!

LILY: Thank you so much for taking the time to recount some adventures of the past. Your interpretation of 'Smack Dab in the Middle' is fantastic and we wish you every success in the coming year!

http://www.DougFerony.com
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeRKNKcdbaQWxCXtCNp_68Q

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