Massy Ferguson set to divide the UK next month

Seattle based americana quartet Massy Ferguson have announced a series of UK dates including festival appearances at Maverick and Summer Tyne. For more than a dozen years, the band have planted their boots on both sides of the country-rock divide, carving out their own brand of amplified Americana along the way. Based in Seattle, they’ve become international torchbearers of a sound that’s American but with a touring history that spans nine different countries. On their fifth album ‘Great Divides’, they double down on their rock & roll roots, mixing bar-band twang with guitar-driven bang. Gluing those sounds together is the songwriting partnership of bass-playing frontman Ethan Anderson and guitarist Adam Monda, whose songs spin stories of small-town adolescence, big-city adulthood, and the long miles of highway that stretch between.

Long before Massy Ferguson played their first show in 2006, Anderson spent his childhood outside Seattle in the rural reaches of the Pacific Northwest. His parents were strictly religious, and he found himself at the local Pentecostal church almost every weekend, watching as his fellow congregants beat their Bibles and spoke in tongues. The spirit didn’t move him in quite the same way. In search of his own kind of clarity, Anderson turned to music: first to the country and folk artists whose songs reminded him of home, and later to the hard-edged rock bands who ruled the roost in Seattle, where he’d eventually relocate as an adult. Those two stylistic extremes – country and rock & roll – continue to rear their heads in his music.

Anderson’s past continues to rear its head, too, and it’s woven throughout the dark, moody music of the new album ‘Great Divides’. Massy Ferguson’s records have always sounded cinematic, like a Springsteen-esque portrayal of blue-collar life in America’s northwestern pocket. If the new record continues that tradition, it does so in montage-form, zooming into various scenes of Anderson’s life for four minutes at a time. The details are rich, the context is implied, and the writing is simple, like the literal minimalism of Anderson’s favourite authors: Cormac McCarthy, Raymond Carver, Dennis Johnson, and Willie Vlautin.

Here are those dates, some of them with the also rather amazing Peter Brutnell:

MASSY FERGUSON · UK TOUR · JULY 2019

Sat 6 July: Easton, Suffolk Maverick Festival 2019, main stage (3pm)
Sun 7 July: Easton, Suffolk Maverick Festival 2019, Gospel Brunch (10am-Noon)
Sun 7 July: Christchurch, Dorset The Thomas Tripp
Wed 10 July: Sheffield The Greystones
Thu 11 July: Bedford Esquires with guest Danni Nicholls
Fri 12 July: Bristol The Golden Lion
Sat 13 July: Dedham, nr. Colchester Al Festo Beer & Music Festival (2pm)
Sun 14 July: Ecton, Northants. The Three Horseshoes (3pm)
Tue 16 July: Hastings The Jenny Lind
Wed 17 July: London The Windmill, Brixton with guest Peter Bruntnell
Thu 18 July: Newport Le Pub, NB: CHANGE OF VENUE with guest Peter Bruntnell
Fri 19 July: Chester Telford’s Warehouse with guest Peter Bruntnell
Sat 20 July: Gateshead SummerTyne Americana Festival 2019 (5:30pm)
Sat 21 July: Stockton-on-Tees Hope & Union (9:30pm)
Sun 21 July: Gateshead SummerTyne Americana Festival 2019 (Noon)
Wed 24 July: Kinross Backstage @ The Green Hotel
Thu 25 July: Montrose Montrose Folk Club, The Links Hotel
Sat 27 July: Poole Beer and Bluegrass Festival

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Author: Mark Whitfield

Mark Whitfield has been the Editor of Americana UK for the last 17 years and still feels like this is his pretend job, mainly because it is.

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