Arts and Entertainment

An unbridled love for making music

Double Stop vocalist Lynne Ferguson pulls out all the stops for Helpline.

Ferguson and husband Roger bring their Double Stop duo to join Rocking Arrow and The Recliners in a benefit concert for Helpline House Dec. 15.

“When I was a teenage mom on Bainbridge, Helpline House helped me a lot. I remember I had to hitchhike to the old laundromat with piles of dirty diapers,” Ferguson says.

Family life and music didn’t come together, though, until she hired a guitarist 19 years ago.

Roger Ferguson played guitar and produced,” Ferguson says. “We worked together and we got married.”

The couple raised five children as a team, supporting their family with music.

Over the years, they expanded their musical vocabulary to include blues, folk, bluegrass and swing. Ferguson carried the vocal lead and played rhythm guitar, while Roger played guitar, mandolin, fiddle and sang backup.

“We’ve been so fortunate,” Ferguson says. “We’ve played 2,500 concerts. We’ve made 10 CDs, with Mark O’Connor producing the last.

“We’ve gotten to open for musicians like Emmylou Harris and Taj Mahal.”

The Fergusons played 280 road dates before the travel got to them.

“We quit,” Ferguson says. “We figured out that we could make the same money and all of it would come home – if we played closer to home.”

Being on the road, however, had not made Ferguson forget her other love: horses.

“That’s just my favorite things are horses and music.”

The rhythm of galloping horses has sounded in Ferguson’s music since Comanche great grandparents taught her native horse traditions, Ferguson says.

Returning from the road gave her more time for equestrian pursuits.“But my stallion came to me because of my last road trip,” Ferguson says. “So I’m glad we went on that one.”

In 1996, Ferguson and her husband were playing a show near the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. She was on the lookout for a horse for a Bainbridge couple, so she watched a demo videotape of one horse –- and decided she wanted the stallion herself.

“We toured through seven states and I bugged my husband through all of them,” Ferguson says.

“We brought him home and named him “Tuff Design.” The kids called him ‘Joey,” because he’s like a ‘regular Joe.’”

Although warned that the stallion would kill the colts, Ferguson allowed her small herd to mingle.

“He was fine with the babies,” Ferguson says. “He was mellow and kind. He liked them.”

In the native way, Ferguson says, stallions, mares and babies all live together.

Ferguson says, “It’s a very different tradition; I’ve always thought the native method of relating to horses is a more respectful way. You let them live as they would in the wild.

“You don’t have to do as much discipline – just ride them down.”

Ferguson says that the natural order prevails in her herd, with the lead mare in charge.

Ferguson says, “I’d tell the kids, ‘watch the mares.’ They don’t let the horses walk all over them; they don’t allow them to disrespect them.”

As Ferguson observed the youngsters around her horses, she noticed that children who had been traumatized were helped by the animals’ presence, a brand of ‘horse therapy’ she has developed over over the years.

Ferguson’s ‘Joey’ recently won a Silver Spur award from the American Quarterhorse Association.

Ferguson says, “That’s a horse that’s done things, a lesson horse for kids, a ‘herd sire.’

“I want to live and make music in that spirit.”

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