Interview: PJ Ferguson Talks Local Roots, Moving To Nashville and More

Interview: PJ Ferguson Talks Local Roots, Moving To Nashville and More

Writer: Brett Porter
Photo: Frankie Cavone

PJ Ferguson left Upstate New York nearly three years ago to see what Nashville, TN had to offer. It’s about that time again where he makes his rounds at the Lake George Beach Club for three nights of pure unadulterated rock n’ roll starting August 10th, and I had an opportunity to talk to him before his Upstate reunion.

What was the deciding factor in uprooting from Whitehall and moving all the way down to Nashville?

My identity is music and I was a lost soul during COVID. I had nothing to lose and I was at a crossroads after a breakup and Nashville was a place I pondered moving to since I was 18. I’m thankful everyday I made that decision.

Aside from your mainstay bands Citizen’s Treasure and PJ Duo, you were part of the local supergroup Glens Fools. How did that come to fruition?

Haha, you may be the only one who remembers that name. They are now Abby West with Austin Barosi on vocals who is the perfect man for that job. That band came together from drummer Dave Goldenberg and I hanging out during COVID and he reached out to Rich from Wild Adriatic and of course I’ve been in bands and grew up with Jac and so it was born. We set out with the mission to play 90s/00s alternative rock tunes that weren’t being played out by cover bands much in the area that time: Audioslave, Jane’s Addiction, Velvet Revolver, etc.

What led to you forming PJ Ferguson and the Tennessee Strange?

I am going on my third year in Nashville. I’ve been playing covers in bars since I was 15-years-old and at 27 I’m ready to start pursuing different avenues in music. Forming my own band gives me the freedom to pursue that dream and do what’s best for me going forward. I’m very excited, the band has been an entity for three months and I feel there’s been a lot accomplished in a short amount of time. Full steam ahead.

Which WWE wrestler would you say describes you the best?

Rey Mysterio, the smaller underestimated underdog.

Since moving to Nashville, all of your hometown reunion shows have been at the Lake George Beach Club. What about that particular bar do you and Jesse Hyatt hold near and dear to you to make it your exclusive return venue?

PJ Duo was the house band on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at the Beach Club for years. I’ve met so many great people through that venue including the staff and patrons. They take good care of us and make it logistically possible for a six-piece band to travel from Nashville. It’s been a win-win relationship and I’m grateful for their hospitality.

Last time you were in Lake George, you said you charge people 20 dollars to request a song. What’s the most ridiculous cover someone’s ever requested?

In Nashville, $20 is the starting point. People will pay hundreds to hear a song when they are good, drunk and happy. Honestly, to me the most ridiculous request is wanting to hear “Sweet Home Alabama” or you name it for the 836th time. It’s not that it’s not a great song, it’s just been overplayed to the point where it has lost its luster. I wish I had a time machine to go back and hear it again for the first time because I’ll never hear it the same again. So I’d say the lack of originality of requests is what surprises me most. This is a great question and I could probably answer it for days if you allowed me to.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the Mirthlings?

I just released some new original music: “Live at Bomb Shelter.” It features two new original tracks that were recorded back in June live to tape. It’s streaming everywhere under the name ‘PJ Ferguson & The Tennessee Strange.’ There’s more music on the way too! Come see us in Lake George Aug 10-13, no repeat songs over the four shows

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