John Ferguson

Riverboat Folk Banjo, Vocals Dukes of Dixieland

Born: 1942 Newfoundland, Canada

Lived in Blountsville, AL

"A true American Minstrel."

He has developed a unique style as a singer, banjo player, and master storyteller.

He has recorded several albums, written and produced movie sound tracks, performed with symphonies, and written numerous educational programs for teachers and students.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

riverboat john ferguson

“Riverboat John” Ferguson, grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, near the Tennessee River. He received his first banjo at age 5. His mother Sarah, who played the piano, taught him numerous folk and patriotic songs as well as stories of the sea and adventure at an early age. His storytelling skills also come from his Grandfather, Sam Ferguson, Spanish American War Veteran and son of a colorful Civil War Army Sergeant. After graduation from Huntsville High School, he migrated to Greenwich Village, New York, to join the Folk Revival Movement, where he bumped elbows with the avante garde, Folk, Blues, Jazz, Pop, Gospel & Rock performers of the day. He completed his degree from George Washington University, Washington, D.C.; served in the U.S. Army; traveled the world; traveled the rivers of America; rode some of the last regular scheduled passenger trains; & rode on every paddlewheel boat he could find. As a result of his roots, travels and experiences as a “seasoned” stage performer, doing festivals, fairs, historical events, performing with symphonies, lecturing at Chautauqua & other lyceum venues, “Riverboat John” developed a style of entertainment much like that of an 1800’s minstrel who comes to town to tell stories & sing songs. His stories can best be described as “Practical-Americana” with “life-learning lessons”. He plays his own style of banjo & other instruments & can belt out a tune of Folk, Old Cowboy Songs, Gospel, Dixieland, Mountain, Riverblues, Country, Old Standards, Children’s Songs, Historical, Patriotic, Original, Humorous & Serious. or tell a story at the drop of a hat. He has appeared in Broadway-type musicals/plays/stage shows and many different venues. He is currently touring North America with the “Riverboat John” Community Concert Stage Show, highlighting his one-man-show "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Riverboat John", as well as numerous educational projects with schools and universities. He is working with The Big Read Program in communities and His Imaginative Reading, Creative Writing & Character Education programs have been implemented in many points throughout the United States. His concentration of effort currently is with urban and rural under-privileged children (and Adults) reading and literacy programs. A true American Minstrel and Folklorist full of music, songs & stories of our beloved country and it’s roots. New York Times says "a true American Minstrel".


Personal Web Site:

More info at:

You Tube: "Riverboat John" at Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga

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