For a number of years, Pennsylvania-based bluegrass veteran Gary Ferguson made musical sojourns to Ireland where he forged fast friendships and enduring musical bonds with some of the Green Isle’s most talented singer-songwriters. This exquisite bluegrass/Americana-tinged album marks the culmination of these partnerships. On many cuts, Ferguson generously steps back into a supporting role, thereby giving his gifted collaborators a showcase for their impressive voices and songwriting skills. He sings lead vocal and plays guitar on “Myshall Morning Melody” and “Solitaire’s Dance.” Ferguson also appears on “To Say So Long,” singing harmony to Roy Thompson on lead vocals.
Ferguson’s Farewell opens with “Myshall Morning Melody,” a deeply felt meditation. It’s followed by a pair of lovely ballads: “Broken Wing,” which features Janet Henry on lead vocal and guitar and “Who I Am Today,” on which GillianTuite handles the lead. On the lighter side, “Getting’ Old” (lead vocal by Charlie McGettigan) is a jaunty tongue-in-cheek yet sad-but-true lament about the attendant aches, pains and indignities of the so-called “Golden Years.” It features some coruscating lyrics:
When you can never find your keys / When you’re gettin’ hard to please / And you fart when you meant to sneeze / You’re gettin’ old
The title tune, which closes the show, is a stirring instrumental composed by Colin Henry as a tribute to Ferguson. It’s a heartfelt and apt conclusion to this stirring tribute to deep trans-oceanic musical binds that tie.