Cool John Ferguson is returning to the Lowcountry this week, and bringing a new album with him.
One of the most highly touted living blues guitarist of our age, Ferguson has been touring with his electric blues for decades now, making stops at notable places like the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York.
He's also made several appearances at the Savannah Music Festival in years past.
Ferguson grew up in the region of Beaufort, S.C., but has taken his music career to a variety of places. He lived near Durham, N.C., for a while, building a reputable fan base there.
Recently, Ferguson relocated to Atlanta with his wife, where he's stationed his new label, Cool John Recordings. His latest album, "With These Hands," is the first release for the new label.
"It's kind of a variety album that's a little blues, a little funk," Ferguson said. "And, I would say, power rock. One of the cuts is a little country. There are 15 songs on the album, and they're all original."
Often adorned in a flat-brimmed high roller, Ferguson turns his Fender Stratocaster backward, in the style of Hendrix, for his left-handed picking. Like a mythical bluesman from Southern lore, Ferguson is the embodiment of old-school, hard-down rocking blues.
His latest recorded offering moves through genres and feels from tune to tune, while staying centered around his soaring guitar licks.
Ferguson's deep voice is sweet and static, but maintains a nice juxtaposition to the high notes of the guitar that encompass the background. His axe-wielding skills are most evident on the instrumental "Black Mud Boogie."
Ferguson's move to his own label came from a desire to be free during the recording process.
"Wanted to kind of write and produce myself," Ferguson said. "That way I can take more time with the material. Didn't have to go through the hassle of dealing with the recording studio and stuff like that."
While this show is at the Mars Theatre in Springfield, Ferguson does have plans to bring his tunes back to his hometown of Beaufort. He's hoping to schedule a summertime concert on the waterfront next year with musician friends from the area.
Until then, Beaufort residents can hit the Mars for a live show that might be tailored to their own preferences.
After years of performing live, Ferguson has garnered a talent for reading a crowd. New songs from the latest album will probably be on the set list, as well as some cover tunes, but Ferguson likes to feel out the crowd in a show before determining what song he'll play next.
"I'll try a number here and a number there," Ferguson said. "I usually base my next song on the previous response from the audience. If they're into it - I play until I get them into it - once I get them into it, I stick to it."