Bitch & Ferron - 8/23Friday, August 23 2013 6:00pm Doors / 8:00pm Start
City Winery Chicago presents solo sets from Bitch and Ferron
The legendary Canadian Folk-singer Ferron is back with a beautiful release, Boulder, produced by NYC-based indie rocker, Bitch.
Part Cree and Ojibway Indian, Ferron grew up in the Vancouver area in British Columbia. The eldest of seven children she was tossed between foster homes, her mother and an abusive stepfather. At 15, she ran away and never looked back. She describes leaving home with only a shopping bag of stuff: "I was 15. In my shopping bag I had a change of clothes, a tooth brush, my A+W uniform, and a Leonard Cohen album. No record player. I couldn't go to the Catholic Church (I'd already been banned for using the word 'bra' in the youth group), so I went to the house of an older woman that I worked at the factory with. She said I could stay in her basement. I turned the workbench into a bed, painted everything turquoise and white and was on my way deep into my independent life."
Ferron has gone on to have an abundant career garnishing a huge international following and huge press attention. The New York Times called her "startlingly intimate, honest and inspiring. " Rolling Stone said of Ferron's highly regarded Shadows on a Dime album: "Ferron writes of love with the relentless introspection of Leonard Cohen, and, as with classic Bob Dylan, her songs' tough, questioning attitude sometimes gives way to an unexpected sweetness."
Ferron has released 14 albums, some from her own label, Lucy Records in 1977, to the other end of the spectrum, with Warner Brothers, a relationship that quickly soured, which sent the artist into isolation for several years. From there, her comebacks were grand, making records to great critical acclaim. The Boston Globe once said, "Someday, they will call Dylan the Ferron of the '60s."
Boulder will be her latest release, and is a collection of songs that speak the voice of a well-traveled folk hero. It illuminates what we know and love about Ferron—her words, and the weight with which she can help us see the world. The album is being produced by indie rocker Bitch. While the album is mostly her own songs, Ferron steps into new territory by covering one of Bitch's songs. "Ferron is a story-teller," says Bitch, who convinced her idol to let her park her RV at her house and set up her traveling lap-top+ 1 microphone studio in her house in the remote woods of Michigan. "She talks the kind of truth that's heavy as rocks." A musical poet and songwriter herself, Bitch fell in love with Ferron when the two met at a festival some years ago. They have forged a friendship since Ferron randomly invited Bitch on stage to play her violin on a tune, which began an on-stage banter that became an off-stage friendship that is culminating, or perhaps just beginning, on this record—this homemade slice of Ferron that fans have been waiting for.
Ferron and Bitch have played quite a few shows together, combining a light-hearted banter with songs that captivate and go right to the heart. The result is a powerful union of two poets, made richer by the fact that they come from different generations. An odd billing at first glance, the two are gaining a lot of attention for their intimate live shows. After the two had taken the stage at a Michigan music festival together and left the audience on their feet, banging the stage with their hands in a fury of inspiration, Bitch went to Ferron's house, lived outside in her RV, and proceeded to record the legend in her own home. (she also recorded the crickets outside the house, the sound of Ferron's car pulling into the gravel driveway, etc)
The album is thick with Bitch's violin, and calls on pals like Amy Ray, Jd Samson and Julie Wolf –all avid Ferron fans—to contribute to the album. "The studio has been set up in so many different places, I wish I had a picture of each one!" says Bitch. After she left Ferron, Bitch continued touring, and carried the project with her. She proceeded to assemble a mini studio all over the country, including the basement bathroom of a house that was given to them for a night in Asheville, to record a saw player, 1/2 of the underground darlings, Midtown Dickens.
Boulder is intimate and sparsely arranged. We hear the voice of a legend—the story of an elder. Bitch's production not only captures the essence of Ferron's songs, but challenges the youth to do what youth is rarely encouraged to do: tune in to the ones who have come before us, hear their wisdom and grow from it.