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MP3 Mike Ferry - Songs for Quirky

Geek-rock for people who laugh. Fun. Catchy. Mullet-free.

16 MP3 Songs
KIDS/FAMILY: Kid Friendly, POP: Beatles-pop

I couldn’t fault you if you listened to "Songs for Quirky" and proclaimed Mike Ferry nuts. This album is unlike anything you’re going to find on the market today. But don’t let that scare you off, there’s something in here for everyone.

Ferry opens with "Pirates," a Caribbean sounding mélange of violin and silly lyrics extolling the virtues of pirates and how sometimes even the fiercest of foes can sometimes have a bad day. The next song, "Dragons," picks up almost where the last one left off. Ferry’s imaginative lyrics create a “log cabin home” that anyone would love to visit.

As the album continues, we move into "In My Next Life," easily my favorite of his songs with lyrics. Ferry captures what we all hope for – a longing for a better life, but to do it with the ones we love. The song is upbeat, and the light beat keeps the mood light and your toes tapping.

By this point, you would think that you have Ferry completely figured out. But then about every fourth song or so, he mixes it up and throws a completely different mood and tone at you. "While My Chai Tea Slowly Steeps" and "Aristarchus Forgotten" are steps into a hypnotic world. Best to play these on a PC in the dark so that you can see the colored swirls from the visualizations of your favorite MP3 player program. Ferry leads you through layers of sound expertly added and then removed.

As the album progresses, the listener gets treated to aptly named "Your Love Makes Me Jump (On A Trampoline)," and then alternately thrown back into sonorous tunes like "How Much Can Your Lawyer Charge If You Appear In His Dream" or "London," the latter a whimsical portrait of Europe’s most famous city compared to a lowly local town, Carrboro. I’ll give you a hint. The City of Fog ain’t got nothin’ that Carrboro can’t offer in spades.

I only wish that Ferry had chosen to end with "Grace!," a ditty that makes me want to pull out my Nathaniel Hawthorne classics and read them again. Never before has a history lesson been so much fun to listen to.

Alternating between atmospheric, ethereal, and just plain fun, "Songs for Quirky" is, well, quirky. Ferry is obviously a talented singer-song writer who has a long future ahead of him. He’s shown that he can reach across genres and provide something for young and old alike. If you want a rollicking good time that the whole family can enjoy, then look no further. I heartily recommend this album. It’s too much fun not to give a place in your collection.

- Matt Kohut, (Paladin Press)

Mike Ferry grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he learned how to play the violin and piano. In high school, he began a six year stint fiddling for Weekend Excursion, a local pop rock band. During his "W.E." years, the band toured throughout the southeastern U.S. and scored several television appearances on "Dawson''s Creek" and "The Real World."

Mike moved from Greensboro to UNC-Chapel Hill, where he supervised three runs to the Final Four from his seats in the upper level of the Dean Dome. After college, he settled in the city - no, town - no, forest - of Rockville, Virginia, where he lives with his wife, two sons, one daughter, and two dogs. He spends his days teaching history at Richmond''s Collegiate School and some nights performing with alt-country group, the Atkinsons.

"Songs for Quirky" is the second release of Emerald Heel Music, Mike''s record label.

"Mike Ferry: Music Man"

Ideas fly at Mike Ferry from all angles. They enter his head when he’s driving, when he’s fishing in the pond behind his house, making lesson plans, watching television, teaching, or even standing in line at Starbucks.
“The best ideas often come when you least expect them,” he says. “I can’t stop them sometimes. Occasionally, they’re so good that I frantically find a pen and paper before I lose them. There’re times when it’s overwhelming, but I’d rather be drowned by ideas than be in a desert.”

Ah, the life of a songwriter.

For most of his waking hours, you’ll find Ferry at his day job as a Middle School history teacher, class advisor, and coach of Cub soccer and basketball at Collegiate. While his attention is always focused on the task at hand, though, the musician in him is never far from the surface.

As a 4-year-old, he began classical violin lessons after he saw a picture of young musicians in his hometown Greensboro News & Record and expressed an interest. He started piano instruction when he was 10 and developed a passion so strong that for several years he dreamed of making music his life’s work.

As high school seniors in 1995, he and five friends – a drummer, two guitarists, a bass player, and a lead vocalist – created Weekend Excursion, a pop rock band.

They soon headed off to college – Ferry to UNC-Chapel Hill and the others to Appalachian State – but they met whenever their schedules allowed and gigs within reasonable driving distance presented themselves. Their senior year, armed with an impressive repertoire of original work and covers, they began touring heavily throughout North Carolina. After graduation, they hit the road full-time.

As their popularity increased, especially among the college-aged crowd, they often drew as many as 1,000 fans in some venues around the state. They were even commissioned to provide background music for Dawson’s Creek (on the WB Network), The Real World (MTV), and, most recently, Scrubs (NBC).

“Based on our popularity, we though it would be our career,” he said, “but outside North Carolina we were anonymous.” In 2001, Ferry left Weekend Excursion to get married and enter the real world. Two years later, facing the harsh realities of earning a living through music, the group disbanded. The old friends keep in touch, however, and even gather occasionally as they did December 22 in Raleigh to do reunion shows.

Now, Ferry’s days are no less full than they were a few years back when he dreamed of rock stardom. He’s at Collegiate, it seems, from dawn ‘til dusk, and he juggles family life – he and his wife Jenny Nuckols Ferry ''96, a Collegiate Middle School Latin teacher, have two sons, Joseph (4) and Jack (1½) – with graduate work in the interdisciplinary studies program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Several times a month, he plays in various Richmond locales with The Atkinsons, an alternative country group.

About a year ago, he began a record label – Emerald Heel Music – and late last summer released an album entitled "A Feather" for which he did all the writing, performing (keyboard and violin), and vocals. He calls his style “geek rock for people who laugh” and describes it as a blend of The Beatles, Randy Newman, The Cars, and a group called They Might Be Giants. Check it out on https://www.tradebit.com. Navigate the website, listen to his offerings, and even type in your thoughts.

With his myriad responsibilities, Ferry finds little time during the school year to create as he’d like, so he fields his ideas, collects his thoughts, and saves them for a rare quiet moment. “I’m constantly bombarded by the rough draft of songs,” he says. “Hours, days, weeks, months, or even years later when I take these disjointed ideas and make them into coherent compositions, it’s really exhilarating.”

— Weldon Bradshaw

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