Reviews & quotes about David's music:
**** Scotland On Sunday
'impressive, thought-provoking and magnificent' (Taplas)
'dark thoughts teamed with delicate lilting melodies' (The Herald)
NetRhythms Website (www.netrhythms.co.uk/reviews.html#ferrard)
by David Kidman
After a debut album (Broken Sky) that bravely concentrated on original self-penned material, then an equally convincing followup consisting of traditional songs, David returns to the field of his own songwriting with an even more personal statement, which explores his hopes and fears in a series of songs around the theme of war and its impact on his and others’ lives. In that respect he derives obvious inspiration from the 1960s anti-war activists of the folk revival, but the contemporary resonances he invokes are often even more telling by being painted in altogether gentler hues rather than angry primary colours; they’re not rants or chants, but more intimate narratives from the viewpoints of ordinary folks affected by war. Journeyman’s final track convincingly binds the two eras in marrying David’s own potent plus-ça-change statement on the legacy of conflict, The War Carries On, to Pete Seeger’s iconic Turn, Turn, Turn.
David’s basic mode of delivery is simple, direct and intensely appealing, his easy and warm-hearted vocal style sweetening the pill to some effect but never prettifying the often ugly imagery he needs to convey in his heartfelt lyrics. For the sincerity and passion of David’s social conscience can never be in any doubt as he takes us on a musical journey through important humanitarian and personal issues like reconciliation and hope (Bridges), relationship disintegration (Broken Bones, By The Wayside) and family break-ups (Without A Daddy), also presenting impressions and memories of childhood (My Father’s House, Childhood Days). The issues of personal identity (mixed ancestry) and the need for greater tolerance are explored from an autobiographical standpoint on the painfully honest I Am An Immigrant (I’m From Here) – remember that David had an Italian grandfather and a Scottish mother – while Till Death Do Us Part is written in the persona of an elderly woman trying to come to terms with the harsh reality of fulfilling that promise now that her husband has developed Alzheimer’s Disease. Others of Journeyman’s songs are more directly concerned with issues affecting specific parts of the world: for instance, Wildflowers paints a harrowing picture of genocide in Bosnia (a little reminiscent of Ralph McTell’s Peppers And Tomatoes perhaps).
Every one of these songs is universal in its implication, accessible and succinct and impeccably crafted, and with exemplary soft-edged backings involving the cream of Scotland’s contemporary acoustic musicians (Steven Polwart, Kevin McGuire, Kim Edgar, Su-a Lee and Adam Sutherland) under the direction of Mattie Foulds, this persuasive disc is sure to prove an essential addition to anyone’s library of the finest in contemporary songwriting.
by John Davy
This Edinburgh-based folk singer's previous album, Across The Troubled Wave, impressed me with the warmth and integrity of its approach, leaving me with a sense of the seriousness of his intent. That album, recorded in America, featured David singing other people's songs (including songs attributed to the "tradition") and there was a mix of Scots and American tunes, reflecting David's own mixed heritage. For this new album he has written (almost) all the material himself and returned to Scotland to record with a pretty stellar list of Scots folk musicians. Mattie Foulds produces, Steven Polwart, Adam Sutherland, Kevin McGuire and Kim Edgar grace the tunes with some warm and supple playing whilst the cello added by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra's Su-a Lee lends a distinctive air to the album as a whole - the atmosphere frequently comes closer to folk song performed with chamber music than to what you might think of as a folk band. Plenty of folk music - in Scotland especially - has been recorded in this style but maybe it's not so prevalent as it once was.
All the qualities that were apparent on that earlier album are recaptured here, with the added bonus that that seriousness of purpose has been brought to bear on his songwriting. It's often said that you should write first about what you know best, and David's own life provides the bedrock on which this album is built. I'm an Immigrant (I'm From Here) deals with that mixed heritage mentioned earlier: Scots born and bred but with an American mother and an Italian grandfather, David is comfortable with his multiple identities, and clearly would like to live in a world where there weren't borders and passports to formalise that universal instinct to divide the world into "us" and "them". Other songs that are obviously personal deal with childhood experiences or with the ups and downs of relationships and he writes with a straightforward honesty. It's always reflective, at least half a step away from the acute emotions of the moment, but that suits the calm restraint of his vocal style.
In other songs he puts himself in another's shoes; sometimes this is to imagine the most personal difficulties as in the affecting Till Death Do Us Part where a wife is left with a husband whose mind has gone, who "sits all day beside the window, open-eyed lost in a dream". She wonders if she is a "widow or wife" and anybody who has seen such a situation will understand. Possibly the strongest song of all is Wildflowers, a definite contender for entering the folk tradition itself. Srebrenica is not identified by name, but it is almost certainly the massacre of some 8000 Muslims that David has in mind as he focuses on the bizarre and swift way in which a world where people work and play alongside each other, barely aware of religious and ethnic identity, can be torn apart by men of bloody intent.
Like the arrangements, David's voice is warm and unassumingly straightforward; he has a vibrato that puts me in mind, a little, of Rod Paterson, the great Scots folk singer. David uses that vibrato with restraint; it's there, adding depth and character to his singing, but he doesn't let it intrude on the business of telling the story he wants to tell. A part of David Ferrard's musical identity is that he's a political activist (Hey! A proper folk singer!) and this album's release coincides with the tenth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. To mark the occasion, the album closes with David's take on Turn!Turn!Turn!. Pete Seeger's tune is used and some of the old words (lifted direct from Ecclesiastes) are there, too. David's additions deal with the melancholic truth that long after the war is declared over, the unexploded bombs and poisoned lands remain to blight the lives of those left to deal with the aftermath. And then, somebody invents another war to fight: "The war is over, but the wars carry on". It's a really good reinvention of the song, a passing of the protest baton to a new generation: just a shame that, as ever, there remains a need for the protest.
There is beauty, warmth and a serious thoughtfulness in David Ferrard's music making that adds up to a distinctive contribution to our world, and I believe Journeyman makes a big step towards him being recognised as a very significant folk musician.
Across The Troubled Wave Reviews & Articles
BBC Music Website (www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/gqvh)
by Colin Irwin
An unassuming, yet consuming album from the impressive Ferrard.
Half-Scottish, half-American, David Ferrard has quietly built an impressive reputation in Britain in the under-subscribed niche of politicised songwriting. With this second album, however, he puts his own songs on ice to delve deep into the American side of his roots, recording in a tiny studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with multi-instrumentalist Josh Goforth to capture the intimacy and charm of the old-time mountain music that represents the core of his style on this unassuming, yet consuming album.
It’s quite a revelation. With his tousled hair, boyish looks and gentle voice, Ferrard would appear ill-equipped to get under the skin of music with such a profound history. But the lovely picture of his great-great-great grandparents which adorns the inner sleeve sets a mood of authenticity, which he effortlessly matches. The songs are mostly traditional, but they carry a clear resonance for Ferrard as he sets off on a journey which eventually takes him far from Scotland, yet retains plenty of scope for social commentary.
Driven by Goforth’s evocative fiddle, opening cut Peg and Awl rues the industrialisation that costs a shoemaker his livelihood before moving on to one of Robert Burns’s lesser-known songs, The Slave’s Lament. Uncluttered arrangements and the endearing simplicity of Ferrard’s delivery make a touching conduit for the themes of alienation, emigration and oppression that are the album’s subtext.
There are a couple of anguished contemporary songs by Dunbar writer Kenny Brill – Gilmartin deals with the Scottish clearances and SO9 Monktonhall is an emotive depiction of life in the mines – while The Jute Mill Song is set around a plaintive banjo to address the dark realities of child labour in Dundee’s jute industry.
It’s a bleak record, but not suffocatingly so. Ferrard bravely masters an unaccompanied vocal on the beautiful love song My Dearest Dear, has a commendable crack at Doc Watson’s definitive version of A-Rovin’ on a Winter’s Night and neatly ends on an optimistic note with Stephen Foster’s classic Hard Times Come Again No More. Whatever else, Ferrard doesn’t lack courage or imagination.
by Paul Matheson
David won the Danny Kyle Award at Celtic Connections 2006 and his debut album Broken Sky (containing mostly his own material) was released in 2008 to glowing reviews. David’s father is Scottish, and his mother American, from the Appalachians. For this, his second album, he explores his dual musical heritage with thoughtful, beautifully-understated performances of traditional songs from Scotland and America. The material here is a mixture of poignant love ballads and songs of protest against exploitation and injustice. Both musically and politically this album displays the strong influence of the early 1960s folk revival.
David’s singing voice is reminiscent of both John Denver and Joan Baez: sweet, gentle, quite high and with immaculate diction. David is a serious ballad singer who consistently puts the words and melody at the centre of his musical arrangements. The delicately nuanced instrumental accompaniment is provided by David himself on guitar and by the North Carolina multi-instrumentalist Josh Goforth who plays fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, and bass.
The dramatic simplicity of the musical arrangements work wonderfully well on S09 Monktonhall (a Midlothian song from the 1984 Miners’ Strike), Jackaro (an epic love ballad) and Gilmartin (Kenny Brill’s song about the Highland Clearances). A special vote of thanks must go to David for rescuing The Jute Mill Song from the couthy sentimentality into which it was in danger of falling. David slows it right down, adds Josh’s sonorous banjo, and reminds us all that this humble dignified song is a moving indictment of the brutal working conditions in which Dundee women and children slaved for a pittance.
There is a tremulous quality in David’s vocal which gives his singing a quietly emotive impact. In this he resembles his fellow balladeer Roy Bailey, with whom he shared the stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year. The greatest compliment one can pay young David is that he holds his own in Roy Bailey’s formidable company. This is only his second album. I can’t wait for his third.
David Ferrard is a fine songwriter but with Across The Troubled Wave he looks towards his ancestry for inspiration. Born to an American mother and a Scottish father he spent many summers in the Appalachians when he was young on holiday with his mother’s side of the family. This heritage decided David to interpret some of his favourite Scottish and American folk songs and helping him out musically on this project is Josh Goforth who produced, arranged and played on all tracks. The pair first met at the 2007 Celtic Connections and soon formed a musical bond and a couple of years later they decided that this fine release should be recorded in Asheville in the Blue Ride Mountains, the ideal setting to produce music of this quality.
The album opens with one of the finest recordings of Peg And Awl that I have ever heard. David’s vocal is perfect for the song. This is swiftly followed by a contemporary take on the Robert Burns penned The Slave’s Lament, Josh Goforth’s fiddle and David’s voice and gentle guitar sounding note perfect. Favourite track for me is their take on the traditional Jackaro, a song originally written and performed for a purpose, both love story and marriage proposal, a beautiful song performed exquisitely. Of the thirteen tracks they are all excellent, but this is my personal favourite. It was a close call though due to my being an old romantic; the stunning Once I Knew A Pretty Girl comes a close second, David’s interpretation influenced by Joan Baez’s recording of the song in 1961. Quite a lot of the material on this release covers stories of emigration or journeys into the unknown and this is shown perfectly on Calling My Children Home written jointly by Doyle Lawson, Charles Waller and Robert Yates, a song of loss and longing for children far away in another land, written long before the age of e-mail, internet and mobile phones to keep in touch. On the cover photograph David looks as if he is in his mid twenties, but his vocal delivery and interpretation show an admirable maturity and along with superb packaging and informative liner notes I have no hesitation in giving this release the full five stars, excellent.
Poetry in motion
by Roger Cox
She is just like a bud of rose
That blooms in the month of June,
Or like some musical instrument
That's just been lately tuned.
The above lines are from a traditional American folk song, A-Rovin' On A Winter's Night, but to anyone with more than a passing interest in the poetry of Robert Burns – and My Love is like a Red, Red Rose in particular – they will sound strangely familiar. So, did the Bard draw inspiration from the song? Or is the song a re-working of the poem?
Scottish-American singer-songwriter David Ferrard can shed some light. His new album, Across the Troubled Wave, is a collection of interpretations of traditional songs that highlight the musical links between Scotland and the United States, and the provenance of several tracks on the album – including A-Rovin' On A Winter's Night – is far from certain. For Ferrard, that uncertainty is a big part of the appeal.
"Did Burns borrow from the tradition or does the song borrow from Burns? It's really hard to know," he says. "On the one hand, there were a lot of people emigrating from Scotland to America during Burns's lifetime – and he obviously would have been very popular then. But then we also know that Burns did borrow from the tradition."
Ferrard's new album grew out of a chance meeting with US musician Josh Goforth at the 2007 Celtic Connections festival. Along with banjo player and singer Laura Boosinger, Goforth was performing traditional ballads from the Appalachian Mountains – an area where many locals claim Scottish roots and where Scottish traditional music is still played. The ballads struck a chord with Ferrard, who had grown up listening to similar songs (his mother hails from the same region) so in 2007, thanks to a grant from the Scottish Arts Council, he travelled to Goforth's hometown of Sodom, North Carolina, to meet the singers who continue to perform the music of their Scottish forefathers.
"I didn't think initially 'I'm going to turn this into a record,'" says Ferrard, "but as I learned the songs and they grew with me I thought, 'well, maybe it would be nice to make a recording of some of them.'"
Like A-Rovin' On A Winter's Night, several songs on the album deal with themes of separation and parting, and a couple explicitly reference the Highland Clearances – the root cause of much emigration from Scotland to America. Ferrard won't be appearing at any Homecoming events this year (although, given the nature of his latest project, perhaps somebody should have thought to invite him?) but will perform Scottish Folk Roots & Offshoots during August as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
by Dai Jeffries
David Ferrard is a Scottish-American who made his recording debut last year as a singer-songwriter. Instead of following up Broken Sky with more of the same he’s released a collection of Scottish and American songs, both traditional and written by others.
Recorded in North Carolina with the musical support of producer and bluegrass multi-instrumentalist, Josh Goforth, Across The Troubled Wave shrinks the Atlantic to the width of stream. Following Peg And Awl with Robert Burns’s The Slave’s Lament sets the tone. Both, as interpreted by Ferrard and Goforth, could equally well be from Scotland or the USA although the later attempt to similarly reposition The Jute Mill Song doesn’t quite come off.
Follow The Drinking Gourd, Pretty Saro and Doc Watson’s A-Rovin’ On A Winter’s Night are too well known to misplace but two songs by East Lothian writer Kenny Brill – Gilmartin and SO9 Monktonhall – seem to be in the spirit of Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More. The arrangements are uncluttered but never dull with Goforth’s fiddle, mandolin and banjo the lead instruments. All in all, a splendid album.
By Mike Newman
The release of David Ferrard’s CD finds the Scottish-American singer-songwriter in fine fettle. A grand mix of traditional and traditional-sounding songs makes for an interesting and enjoyable album.
Songs by Robert Burns and Stephen Foster rub shoulders with two particularly fine tunes written by East Lothain’s Kenny Brill about the Highland Clearances and the great miners’ strike. The traditional Peg and Awl was first heard by Ferrard when sung by Pete Seeger, and this version does the song proud.
Recorded in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it was produced by Josh Goforth. His multi-instrumental bluegrass and old-time talents are also featured, and he makes a huge contribution to this recording.
This sumptuously packaged CD blends the traditional with the contemporary and will only further extend the reputation Ferrard is building for himself.
The Sunday Herald
by Alan Morrison
WHEN he released the album Broken Sky last year, the Sunday Herald called David Ferrard "a one-man transatlantic session". The Scottish-American folk singer follows up with a collection of cover versions that's no less personal than his self-penned debut, as it puts his lineage literally on the line with a collection that brings together favourite songs from both sides of his cultural divide. Thus, the words of Robert Burns (The Slave's Lament) sit side by side with those of Stephen Collins Foster (Hard Times Come Again No More). It's no surprise to learn that Ferrard first heard some of the traditional songs here on recordings by Pete Seeger and Joan Baez - you could draw a direct line from their musical style and political conscience to his - but he makes his own distinct impression on them with a voice that's now richer in its lower register. The album was recorded in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and its producer, Josh Goforth, contributes beautiful arrangements and some mighty fine fiddle and banjo playing.
by Kenny Mathieson
DAVID Ferrard grew up in Edinburgh of mixed Scottish and American parentage, and had a foot in each cultural camp during his formative years. That joint heritage is implicit in all of his work, but his second CD sets out to explore it in a more explicit fashion, with a mix of songs that ranges from Robert Burns's The Slave's Lament to contemporary in-the-tradition offerings from Dunbar writer Kenny Brill on the Scots side, and traditional songs to the work of Stephen Foster from the United States (the album's title is drawn from a line in the final song, Foster's Hard Times Come Again No More). The singer has a fine voice and a sweet and supple delivery that is complemented by light-handed accompaniments from his own guitar and Josh Goforth's skilful contributions on guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and bass.
NetRythms - www.netrhythms.co.uk
by David Kidman
Born and raised in Edinburgh (to a Scottish father and American mother), and still based there, David’s hitherto been known largely for his songwriting, and his debut album Broken Sky concentrated almost exclusively on that aspect of his art. Across The Troubled Wave displays the other side of the coin, as it were, being an album of traditional (and traditional-style) songs given David’s thoughtful and individual treatment. During his childhood, David spent part of each summer in rural Pennsylvania, an experience which has evidently informed his approach to the tradition, for the style of his performances and arrangements – made in collaboration with bluegrass and old-time multi-instrumentalist Josh Goforth (in whose studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina the album was recorded) – lend a distinct old-time feel to much of the disc. Also, listening to David’s attractive (if sometimes understated) singing, I was occasionally reminded of Kieron Means, or his mother Sara Grey, the latter especially in respect of a specific vocal characteristic: a sometimes quite pronounced vibrato which supplements the gentle burr of his legato lines. This is kept sensibly in check on David’s very appealing unaccompanied rendition of My Dearest Dear midway through the disc, which in spite of the consistently satisfying quality of the rest of the set remains a standout track. Instrumental backings are kept simple, and authentic as they come, with David’s own unfussy but effective guitar accompaniment complemented by exceedingly well-considered and wholesome fiddle, mandolin, banjo or second guitar from Josh (with occasional bass and backing vocal contributions too). Nothing’s out of place, and that very fact might just once or twice during the album raise a mild charge of tameness, but repeated listens yield subtle insights in the playing as well as in the singing, for David definitely has an innate feel for this kind of material, whether it be purely traditional or contemporary in origin. Of the latter category, the pair of songs by Dunbar’s Kenny Brill (Gilmartin and SO9 Monktonhall) are outstanding, and keenly portrayed by David, while Doyle Lawson’s genial gospel Calling My Children Home is given an appealing and sensitive Carter-style treatment. Highlights of the former category are a particularly fine fiddle-backed rendition of Pretty Saro and a version of The Rejected Lover (Once I Knew A Pretty Girl) which David got from the singing of Joan Baez. It’s indicative too, that many of the songs incorporate the themes of emigration, love and loss, clearly ones to which David responds, and the disc’s very title is taken from the lyric of Stephen Foster’s Hard Times, an easy-rolling version of which closes the set stylishly. Throughout, David’s even-toned, gently expressive performances on this exploration of his transatlantic roots give us a most pleasing disc.
Scotland On Sunday
By Norman Chalmers
Brought up and still based in Edinburgh, the young Ferrard crossed the Atlantic regularly with his mother to her family home in rural Pennsylvania, and in this, his second album, he pays homage to the great song traditions that unite his two countries. Songs of hardship, love and compassion, created by unknown authors of tradition, as well as Robert Burns, Stephen Foster and contemporary Scotsman Kenny Brill, were recorded in a Carolina studio. Producer Josh Goforth's relaxed fiddle, banjo, mandolin, bass and backing vocals complement Ferrard's guitar in an album that feels like a homecoming.
Country Music & Dance
By Stewart Fenwick
DAVID FERRARD is an American born folk singer based in Edinburgh. His new album, “Across The Troubled Wave” (Alter Road Records) is a very interesting collection of songs that bridge traditional Scottish folk to old time American music. The album kicks off with Pete Seeger’s “Peg And Awl”, which has a wonderful old timey bluegrass feel to it. Other tracks with a Country feel include “Calling My Children Home”, and “Hard Times Come Again No More”. “A Rovin- On A Winters Night” is based on Doc Watson’s version, but on the sleeve notes, David highlights the similarities of this American traditional number, with Robert Burns. And that’s a theme that runs through the album, It’s a real mix of Celtic and wonderful old time music, recorded in North Carolina, and beautifully packaged. David has built up quite a following in recent months, with shows at Glasgow Americana Festival. A really enjoyable listen.
Broken Sky Reviews & Articles
The Sunday Herald
CD of the week
By Alan Morrison
BILLY BRAGG recently said that he didn't mind being labelled a political songwriter, "what I object to is being dismissed as a political songwriter". Politics are also a major element of David Ferrard's debut album, but again it would be wrong to pigeonhole this committed anti-war campaigner entirely by his protest output. The 29-year-old half-Scottish, half-American musician (a one-man transatlantic session) has an uncanny ability to fuse meaningful words with gorgeous melodies, winning the Burnsong 2007 competition for the timelessly catchy One Hell Of A Ride.
Given the content of certain songs here, it's no accident that the album first appeared (for download or CD order from www.davidferrard.com) the same week as the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Ferrard, however, wasn't in his home town when his album was released; he was researching in the Woody Guthrie archives in New York City. How appropriate, given the kindred spirit that has passed from Guthrie, through decades of the protest movement, down into almost every track on Broken Sky.
Set in the midst of the album's crystal-clear production, Ferrard's voice is closer to Joan Baez than Bob Dylan, and certainly not in the bar-room troubadour style of, say, Dick Gaughan. His vocal delivery is sincere but never over-earnest, while his music draws from both sides of his mixed roots, placing American country fiddles alongside gentle acoustic guitar.
The album's standout track, Hills Of Virginia, gets into the head of a soldier in Iraq. "A buddy of mine/Stepped on a mine/His body just disappeared/He never returned/ To the hills of Virginia/All they buried were tears," Ferrard sings as the song's melodic shifts between major and minor become a thing of beauty. The protest tradition has many iconic songs, and who's to say that one day Ferrard's Hills Of Virginia won't be mentioned in the same breath as Eric Bogle's And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.
By Steve Edge.
David Ferrard - songwriter from Edinburgh who has just released his debut CD, Broken Sky, which includes collaborations with Karine Polwart. His delivery is tasteful and understated, accompanying himself on guitar. His tenor vibrato is easy on the ear, and leads us into the heart of his songwriting: incisive, topical, and appealing. David Ferrard is definitely one to watch.
BBC Radio Scotland: Iain Anderson Show
Album Of The Week
'David provides a very healthy synthesis - a vocal purity of the quality of a Scottish burn combined with the style and delivery of the tried and tested American product.'
by Graeme Scott
David Ferrard may well be a new name to you but that will not last long. He is a very accomplished writer with a clutch of songs ranging from lovely traditional ballads, biting anti-war and globalisation anthems on through to heartbreaking paeans and musings of loves and friendships lost. It is often hard to think back the next day to which songs impressed you the most but not today. Dimitri's Pocket Radio is as fine a song about asylum seekers being overlooked as just simply human beings as you will ever hear. There can be few that were not reflecting on the futility of war to the strains of Hills Of Virginia. Often couples fail to allow themselves time to concentrate on themselves and Take Me Out Waltzing Tonight speaks volumes on those forgotten needs. The highlight of David's own songs was the powerful, sad and haunting Never Let Go. Written with sensitive understanding it tells the story of a man who has lost so much to AIDS. I could go on but will simply end by saying seek out this artist and album.
by Pat Stark
The first thing that strikes you when listening to David Ferrard is the beauty of his voice—clear and strong, tough and sweet all at the same time. It is slightly difficult to categorised his music, a sort of mixture of country and folk with a cutting edge. He struck me as a cross between James Taylor and Nanci Griffiths with a little bit of Sufjan Stevens throw in for edge. The album is an interesting mixture of touching love songs, wistful nostalgia, and comments on our times—all tracks bar one written by Ferrard.
With songs like Broken Sky (the title track), Rain and This Heart, Ferrard displays his talent as a writer/singer of love songs. He has a voice that naturally lends itself to these tender songs. The same voice though catches the mood of some of the issues of our day. Dimitri’s Pocket Radio is a wonderful tale of the triumph of love over adversity, bureaucracy and racism. Similarly Hills of Virginia captures the pointlessness and futility of “protecting our nation” in the Iraq war, and The Hour of Plenty picks away at the horrors of global capitalism. The album closes with Never Let Go, a song of the tragedy of the AIDS-torn 1980s.
However there is also a fun feeling to the album. One Hell of A Ride has the feeling of a country romp and Take Me Out Waltzing Tonight a celebration of enduring love. A very interesting mixture and a very good listen.
by Norman Chalmers
Back in the 1960s this tousled-haired lad with the acoustic guitar would have been labelled a 'protest' singer, and though much of this first album by the Edinburgh-based Scots/American songwriter does rail at the current war(s) and the iniquities of power, he also gives us songs about affairs of the heart, personal and universal. So it's peace and love with a contemporary feel – and a strong band line-up that includes the likes of Karine Polwart. And there are lighthearted songs such as 'Take Me Out Waltzing Tonight', and a happy ending to the picaresque 'Dmitri's Pocket Radio'.
by Jez Smith
Each time I listen to Broken Sky, David Ferrard’s debut album, I come away oved by emotions, sometimes inspired to fight for justice, at other times I feel deeply tranquil.
David is subtle, with his anti-war song Hills of Virginia hitting home more accurately than any Brittush-issue weapon ever could: ‘My weapons were no longer toys’. In Dmitri’s Pocket Radio, a true story of a refugee brought a tear to my eye the first few times that I heard it. Later, in The Hour Of Plenty, David and his backing singer’s voices haunt me as he subtly exposes global inequalities.
David’s voice, combined with well-chosen lyrics, means that he will find his own niche in the world of folk music. His well crafted songs and beautiful melodies are entwined to produce a timeless compilation that will be remembered for years to come.’
Ferrard’s political songs are very strong, touching on Chechen and Iraqi wars and injustice, but the majority of tracks here are standard singer-songwriter love songs. The arrangements are smooth and Ferrard’s tremulous voice is attractive, which makes for a neatly rounded set of tracks – but it’s the three or four ‘committed’ ones that really stick in the mind.
'Bits of Woody Guthrie wedged in between Tom Paxton and Bob Dylan'
Edinburgh Evening News
'the fresh-faced saviour of the Scottish protest tradition'
Jim Gilchrist, The Scotsman
'Ferrard has a crisp, tuning-fork voice which might see him credibly compared to James Taylor, strong but soothing all at once.'
David Pollock, The Scotsman
'David's ability to write political and pop songs with equal focus makes him stand out a mile from most of us mortals who have our niche.
Out of the Bedroom
'sweet, crystal vocals...David could be Scotland's answer to Rufus Wainwright....'
Glasgow Evening Times
'a singer-songwriter attuned to the times'
Celtic Music Radio
'I heard David's song "One Hell of a Ride" on his Website and was simply blown away. Within five minutes I had contacted him and invited him onto my show. This young singer/songwriter has the potential to be a major player on the Folk Scene. In years to come I'm looking forward to being able to brag: "I gave David Ferrard his first live radio gig you know!" I predict that he will be known world-wide within a few years, and wish him every success in the glittering career that undoubtedly lies ahead.'
'The Royal Oak is small, hot and stuffy, but perfectly provides the intimate, cosy atmosphere that makes listening to the ‘Trio’ a real treat. Lodged between the bar and the first row of listeners, David Ferrard (lead vocalist, guitar and songwriter), Suzanne Adam (fiddle, vocalist and blue glockenspiel) and Sandy Butler (guitar and vocalist) play protest songs, country and folk songs, sing an a capella Guthrie song. Most of the songs have a political theme: the war in Iraq, deportation, etc, but the show never becomes too heavy-handed because small inter-trio quips and honky-tonk melodies keep the tone light. They finish with a song about peace, and that is the feeling you get from this little gig: a warm, relaxed moment of peace with lovely music to soothe your soul.'
Kitty van Oosten
Three Weeks (2006)
'...let this charismatic young folk singer put you straight through the power of traditional song...delivered with warmth and engaging sincerity...His gentle style and perfect diction told these musical stories of ordinary people to extraordinary effect.'
Three Weeks (2007)
'Moving, powerful and compelling'
'David Ferrard has the voice and the heart of an angel. He works for a better world in his life and in his songs, and his music is as beautiful as he is.'
Mary Gauthier, www.marygauthier.com
'It is always a delight to meet someone who uses their talents to address important issues of the world we live in. David Ferrard is one such singer/songwriter. His writing reflects his concerns about the world around him. Such songs have a long history and have always been a part of the tradition of people’s music. David is one of the younger generation who continues this tradition. I have enjoyed sharing a stage with him on more than one occasion and I have added a couple of his songs to my repertoire : Visions of our Youth and the delightful Take me out Waltzing Tonight.'
Roy Bailey, www.roybailey.net
‘David Ferrard's voice is spellbinding and his songs go straight to the heart - and then you realise his powerful message has got right into your head too! I don't rush to learn every new song I hear, but Hills of Virginia was compelling.’
Sheena Wellington, www.sheena-wellington.co.uk
'Occasionally I run into a little-known songwriter in some corner of the world, and when I hear their stuff I know immediately that sometime in the next couple years they're going to be one of those musicians people will be asking me about excitedly everywhere I go, hoping to be turning me on to a new artist I hadn't heard of before. "Ever hear this guy David Ferrard? You gotta check him out, man..." '
David Rovics, www.davidrovics.com
‘Top-class songs from a great new talent. David Ferrard stands out from the crowd. With his clear voice and original songs he really impressed my audiences. I’ve booked him twice and highly rate him.’
Peter Chegwyn (Gosport & Fareham, and Wickham Festival Director)
‘David Ferrard came to Towersey as a relative unknown on the English festival circuit and quickly gained a host of admirers for his thoughtful, considered songs delivered with an easy charm and a captivating voice.’
Alan Bearman (Towersey Village Festival Director & Agent)
'David Ferrard was like a breath of fresh air at Beverley Festival this year. A young artist with so much talent and confidence, he seemed as if he had been travelling the circuit for years. A natural performer and a lovely guy - the audiences immediately warmed to him.'
Chris Wade (Beverley Folk Festival Director)