Local duo releases debut album, ‘Mucky Astro Baby’

PJ Ferguson wants to be heard.

The singer and guitarist dreams of a day when complete strangers can recite the lyrics to “Orbital Love” or “Essence of the Boar,” songs he has written.

“To have people sing along to your own songs…its cool when you write words and people know them,” Ferguson said.

That dream takes a step toward becoming a reality next week when Ferguson and Zack Plude, who collectively make up “The PJ and Zack Show,” release their debut album “Mucky Astro Baby!” during a concert at the Whitehall Athletic Club.

The album is both a beginning and an end for Ferguson. It’s a culmination of years of practice and nearly four months of studio time. And the beginning of what Ferguson hopes is life-long musical journey.

Musical influences

Ferguson, a senior at Whitehall High School, first picked up a guitar more than five years ago. Unlike some of his peers who listen to Katy Perry, Drake or Bruno Mars—today’s pop icons— Ferguson’s musical tastes have been influenced by musicians who have been performing since before he was born.

As a child, he watched ACDC and Motley Crue on VH1 and includes Tom Petty, The Who, The Doors and 90s grunge icon Soundgarden among his favorite acts.  

His first concert was a Motley Crue show and Ferguson routinely watches local musicians, some of whom contributed to the album. But it was a Stone Temple Pilots show a little over a year ago that really sparked Ferguson’s passion for music.

“I saw Stone Temple Pilots and it was an epiphany. It was the most awesome thing I’ve seen, and it made me want to play more,” Ferguson said.

Over the past several months, Ferguson and Plude, have played a number of shows throughout the area. They’ve performed at Casino in Huletts Landing, Fitzgerald’s in South Glens Falls, Dangos in Glens Falls, the Putnam Den in Saratoga, Blue Moose in Lake George and the Hilltop Tavern in Pittsford, Vt.

Long but rewarding process

The duo began work on “Mucky Astro Baby!” in August.

The album features eight original tracks, all written by Ferguson.

“The songs vary from alternative rock to more poppy stuff to almost hard rock,” Ferguson said. “There’s a real range on the CD.”

Ferguson plays guitar and sings lead on the album, Plude performs on the drums and other percussion instruments and Tom Egan, a Whitehall resident and member of local band Cleveland Gulley lends his talent on the bass guitar to the collaboration.

Ferguson said the theme of the album is all about love.

“It’s not all my personal experiences. Some of it’s me telling stories of events I’ve seen,” he said. “But all the songs deal with different shades of love,”

The album was recorded over several months in Ken Lytle’s Queensbury studio. Angus Wilson engineered the album.

“It was a long process but an enjoyable one,” Ferguson said.

Release party

Ferguson and Plude received their first copy of the album yesterday, and it will be unveiled during a CD release party at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, at the Whitehall Athletic Club (several of the songs can be heard on www.facebook.com/fergusonplude, and copies of the album will be available for $7).

During the party Feguson and Plude will perform songs from the album as well as perform with members of other local bands, including ECHO and Cleveland Gulley.

“We’re hoping for a big night,” Ferguson said.

He said he hopes people enjoy the album and is hoping a couple of the songs get air time on local radio stations.

Ferguson, who will graduate next June, plans to attend college and study political science as a “backup plan.”

“Its (music) what I love to do. To be able to make money doing what I love and have it be a career would be great. It’s a goal of mine,” he said.

He admits making it in the music industry is as much about luck and who you know as talent, but he refuses to let go of his dream of hearing other people sing his songs.

“It (album release) feels good, and it’s just the beginning,” Ferguson said.

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