Massy Ferguson returns to the UK, a place with special significance to them, this summer for a July tour. They will be playing festivals ranging from Truck Festival in Oxford to SummerTyne Americana Festival in Newcastle to Tramlines Festival in Sheffield and clubs like The Prince Albert in Brighton and The Musician in Leicester, plus many others.
It seems strange to call Seattle rock-americana outfit Massy Ferguson “up and comers”. But despite 11 years as a band, that seems to be the ironic position they find themselves in. After a breakout new album “Run It Right Into the Wall” that climbed into the Top 50 of the US Americana charts, a showcase at the Americana Music Awards in Nashville last Sept, national press from outlets like the Huffington Post, and slots playing alongside people like Reckless Kelly, BJ Barham of American Aquarium and Corb Lund in the past year, the band is definitively making a name for itself. And, perhaps finally, differentiating that name from the tractor-combine company that inspired the moniker.
“I think no matter how well-known we get,” lead singer/bassist Ethan Anderson said with a laugh. “People will probably still come up to us after the show and say ‘Massy Ferguson … you know that’s a tractor, right?!'”
“We really turned a corner during our first UK tour in 2014,” Anderson said. “I think we finally got to the core of who we were as a band. A lot of that had to do with the experience of being embraced by the UK Americana scene, even though we thought we might be too loud or too left of the dial, so to speak. Seeing Americana from that angle just cemented that we are our best when we do what comes most natural, and for us, that’s Americana that is loud, twangy, and part mid-west college rock.”
The byproduct of this UK experience was “Run It Right Into the Wall” (At The Helm Records, 2016) a different kind of Americana record which drew upon influences of Springsteen as much as Farrar, as Westerberg as much as Earle, of Minneapolis as much as Austin. In the words of WXPN Philadelphia’s tastemaking producer Bruce Warren, “these are more than convincing roots rockers fronted by a convincing and memorable lead singer in Ethan Anderson’s aching heartland growl.” In other words, the album was Massy Ferguson in their natural habitat. In Sept. 2016, the album climbed into the Top 50 of US Americana charts, buoyed by the hard hitting single “Gallipoli”, a song that also got airplay on BBC Radio’s Another Country with Ricky Ross. The band also debuted the video single “Making t” nationally on the Huffington Post. In late Sept, they showcased as part of a US-UK bill in Nashville as part of the 2016 Americana Music Awards, which featured Robert Vincent, Austin Lucas, Danni Nichols and members of The Bottle Rockets.
It’s not to say Massy Ferguson were complete unknowns. They have long been a regional headliner and a fixture in north-west Americana, regularly selling out venues like the Tractor Tavern, the seat of the north-west roots scene. In addition to the artists mentioned above, they have shared the stage with everyone from Tim McGraw to Camper Van Beethoven to Sons of Bill toSon Volt. The new album “Run It Right Into the Wall” also made some big noise in Seattle and the NW, staying in the Top 10 of Americana records for over a month on the nationally acclaimed KEXP 90.3FM.
With a new-found vigour, the long-time roots rockers have new life and are currently working on a follow-up record, due out in early-mid 2018. And, continuing with their love of the British Americana scene, they recently joined the Americana Music Association UK branch.
UK TOUR 2017
July 12 – What’s Cooking, London
July 13 – The Musician, Leicester
July 14 – The Thomas Tripp, Christchurch
July 15 – The Prince Albert, Brighton
July 16 – Three Horseshoes, Ecton (day show)
July 16 – The Running Horse, Nottingham
July 20 – Clwb ifor Bach, Cardiff
July 21 – Mink, Middlesbrough
July 22 – SummerTyne Americana Festival, Newcastle (AM boat cruise)
July 22 – SummerTyne Americana Festival, AMA UK stage (afternoon), Newcastle
July 23 – Tramlines Festival (afternoon), Sheffield
July 23 – Truck Festival, Saloon Stage, Oxford