Carolina native Cool John Ferguson, a seasoned “Southern roots” musician whom legendary blues artist Taj Mahal once considered to be among the top five guitar players in the world, will make his second appearance Saturday evening at the Lincoln Cultural Center.
“He is just awesome and always, always leaves us wanting to hear more,” Cultural Center’s Executive Director Cathy Davis told the Times-News.
Ferguson is sponsored by Music Maker Relief Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in the mid-1990s in Hillsborough to support elderly Southern roots musicians, “pioneers of the field,” who are financially struggling in the industry, according to Artist Services Coordinator Aaron Greenhood.
Founders Tim and Denise Duffy “wanted to help alleviate the (artists’) poverty so they could continue their craft,” he said.
The organization provides assistance in a variety of ways including but not limited to buying instruments, securing passports, covering medical care costs and helping artists with their repertoires and videos.
Music Maker also assists in producing albums and booking musicians’ venues, Greenhood said.
Ferguson worked several years with the nonprofit, helping other older artists, before having the organization sponsor his own career.
Greenhood admires the South Carolina man’s talent, calling his guitar skills “unbelievable.”
“Cool John plays really killer guitar blues — mind-melting guitar playing,” he said.
Ferguson’s music is a mixed bag of Gospel and traditional African sounds, according to his website, cooljohnferguson.com
“Music for me has always been a way to give praise for life and its gifts,” he said on the site, “but it has also been a way to celebrate with my friends, fellow musicians and excited audiences. When I play a show, I try to capture the spirit of the room and give some of that spirit back to everyone, amplified and transformed into something pure and beautiful.”
Ferguson picked up a guitar at age three, and over the years, learned to play by ear.
“It (music) all came in my ears and out through my hands,” he said on his website.
To order advanced tickets for Saturday’s show, set for 7 p.m., call the Lincoln Cultural Center at (704) 732-9055. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.