Bill playing Scotty's 2010 International Steel Guitar Convention
Bill Ferguson, Tommy Dodd, David Erwin, Buddy Emmons
Mid 80's ad in TV GUIDE
Ad features Bill Ferguson's HANDS playing his own ShoBud using the famous
BJ chrome picks.
Bill Ferguson was born in Atlanta,
GA, May 20, 1947 to Carl & Annie Mae Ferguson, who also had five daughters
and another son. He graduated from Southwest DeKalb High School in 1965
(barely, he says). The following year, Bill met Linda, and they soon married
in 1967 when she was 17.
The newlyweds lived in Decatur, Georgia
during their first five years of marriage. In 1972, they found a home
they loved in Norcross and made the move to the new suburb. Thirty years
later, they still celebrate the wonderful memories of building their family
inside those walls – and continue to make more memories with their
grandchildren when they come to visit.
Bill and his brother had their own cabinet
business for 29 years. They closed the doors in 1996, and Bill has been
in the flooring business since that time.
Bill's love of music came early, and at
the age of 12, he began playing a D28 Martin Guitar given to him by his
sister. Unable to do much with the guitar, Bill decided he wanted to be
a bass player. He played in a band called the "Dynamics" while
in high school. He went on to play bass with several Rock and Roll bands.
Wendell Carter, of Carter’s Music, was instrumental in introducing
him to country music and the Alpharetta American Legion at a very young
Bill met Atlanta steel guitar legend Mac
Atcheson in 1969 and a wonderful and long friendship began. Bill fell
in love with the steel guitar and the beautiful music that Mac made. He
bought his first steel guitar - a Sho~Bud - in 1970.
Over the years Bill has been a part of
many Atlanta area bands. He played with in "Swingin' Texans"
with Margie and Buddy Pattillo. He was part of the "Ray Mize Five"
in Alpharetta at the American Legion for seven years. He played in the
Wild Fire Band at the American Legion in Loganville for ten years. For
the last ten years, ending last September, he has been with the "Country
River Band". Bill is also a featured performer on many regional steel
guitar shows and played the International Steel Guitar Convention in 2010.
In addition to Bill’s playing he
has always been very active in supporting and promoting steel guitar and
country music. In the late1970’s, Bill was a leader in putting together
a series of jam sessions named “The Picker’s Pick”.
These sessions allowed the professional country music community of Atlanta
to come together for a day of music and fellowship. They continue today
but the name has changed to the “Picker’s Re”Tune”ion,
held in Conyers, GA twice a year and handled by Paul Aiken.
In 1978 Bill joined the International Steel
Guitar Association staff as an audio and later video specialist. Bill
has not missed an ISGA event since he began that role and is a key contributor
on the staff. Through Bill’s years of handling the sound at
the International Steel Guitar Convention and other shows, he has amassed
what may be the world’s largest library of recorded steel guitar
performances. Through agreement with the artists and Scotty, Bill is making
these performances available on the Internet through his “Steelpicker”
user ID on YouTube.
Bill has been very generous with his time
and knowledge over the years mentoring others who wanted to learn to play
steel guitar. Bill’s protégés include Roger Crawford,
Jonathan Cullifer, Brett Day, and Austin Tripp.
Bill and his wife, Linda, have two daughters,
Christie and Brandi, sons-in-law, Chris and Tim, and four grandchildren,
Cooper, Eli, Brooke and Jordan.