PJ Ferguson will be making a return to Lake George and performing four shows this weekend with the band Northern Runaways.
Ferguson along with Jesse Hyatt, Zach Dickerson and Mike Guy has been playing different gigs in Nashville and some shows in Florida every now and again. With the return to the lake, Ferguson is glad to be playing for some familiar faces again.
“Jesse, Zach and I came back for a week last summer and played a couple of shows on the lake,” Ferguson said. “At the time, the band was very new, and we had only been together for about two months and Mike was still playing for another band. Now, we’re all full-time band as Northern Runaways and we have some original songs that we’re excited to show everyone.”
Something Ferguson is particularly excited about is seeing friends and family.
“We made so many life-long friendships in Lake George, Jesse and I, and I feel like it’s hard for anyone when you move farther away because you aren’t in touch with those people the way that you used to be. But when we’re back in the room with them, I hope it’s like we never left but at the same time they also see our growth,” he said.
Ferguson said that shows at the beginning of the pandemic were tough. He compared bartenders to babysitting because of the mask mandate. He said there was something missing too.
“It took the hospitality out of it and at that point, we were just doing it live and make money,” he said. “At first, it was good to play but as it went on it was like there was no joy in it anymore. That was the first time I felt like that, and it was the same thing in Nashville when we first came down here and started.”
As for some of the places the band has been playing, there are a handful of places the band plays regularly now in Nashville. Bowies has become one of the places the band frequents for shows now. He said that he was interviewing for a reporter job and then the next day they played at the steakhouse and bar Kid Rock, and it was on the up and up from there.
“The way it works here in Nashville is you really have to make it your life and that’s why it’s so hard. You have to dedicate time to be available to play at any given moment. Sometimes they would call me and ask if I could play right then and I would pack everything up in 20 minutes and go,” he said. “You’re just grateful that you have a gig because someone else didn’t show up and that’s your way in.”
Ferguson and Hyatt have been friends since an early age and have always enjoyed playing music together. Before making the move to Nashville in June 2020, many locals knew the duo as an acoustic set. Now as a band, Ferguson says that the crowd could be surprised with their new sound.
“There’s a hope that the new sound will be embraced. When we were the duo, it was me with an acoustic guitar and Jesse was on a standup drum kit, it was quieter, and less vibrant on stage I would say. Now the sound has completely changed into a four-piece rock band that’s even more diverse and you hope that people are going to embrace that substantial change,” he said. “It’s still us.”
While in Nashville, Ferguson said that he has had some great opportunities to further his and the band’s music career. One odd accomplishment he has is playing to a person from every state.
“The other night I finally played for somebody from Idaho and that was the one state I was waiting on,” he said.
The band is also excited to announce their first album “Spectators” will be released sometime next month. The album is raw and personal from Ferguson’s perspective when referring to the lyrics. There was a lot of emotion that was going through Ferguson at the time, he said, and he was looking to capture it through music that others can relate to.
“It doesn’t sound like rainbows and butterflies, but the concept is around depression and anxiety at the beginning of the pandemic, and I think a lot of people can relate to that because Covid amplified it for people,” he said.
Northern Runaways will be playing at Lake George Beach Club Thursday Feb. 17 from 7 to 11 p.m., Friday from 8 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m.’ and Sunday 4 to 8 p.m. Event information can be found on Northern Runaways Facebook page.