singer Ferron grew up in a rural suburb of Vancouver, the eldest of
seven children. After leaving home at the age of 15 she subsisted by
working as a cab driver, waitressing and packing coffee in a factory.
By 1975 she had started singing to "political folk-type people,
mixed audiences of men and women". Her first recordings were completed
in 1977 when she recorded, released and distributed her self-titled
debut. Songs such as "I Am Hungry" immediately announced
Ferron as a natural communicator, fluent in documenting emotional peaks
and troughs. Ferron Backed Up followed a year later, and established
a solid following for her staunchly feminist songwriting (notably "Dear
Marly" and "Call Me Friend'). Through these two albums she
came to the attention of Gayle Scott, an American then employed in
film production in Vancouver. Scott became Ferron's manager and business
partner, collaborating with her on the subsequent Testimony (1980)
and Shadows On A Dime (1984).
Although the music remained smooth, her songs continued to combine
reflections on personal experience alongside directly political
observations. Testimony's title track later became an anthem for
the feminist movement. The receipt of a Canada Council arts grant
in October 1985 allowed Ferron to consolidate her progress, enabling
her to take time off for vocal lessons and to write new material.
However, the grant soon expired and, not ready yet to return to
performing, she worked as a carpenter's assistant and bartender.
Eventually she returned to the studio for 1990"s Phantom Center,
re-energised by her time away from the stage. With instrumentalists
including Barbara Higbie and Novi, Phantom Center comprised complex
poetic narratives made instantly accessible by the dexterity of
the musicianship. Following a well-received live album, Resting
With The Question outlined a new dimension to the artist. Where
previously Ferron's major talent had been ascribed to her lyric-writing,
this instrumental collection consisted of resonant, synthesizer
produced sounds and sequences. She made her debut for Warner Brothers
Records subsidiary EarthBeat in 1994 with Driver. It garnered substantial
critical acclaim, in keeping with her less exposed previous recordings.
In 1995 Phantom Center was remixed and remastered for release by
EarthBeat. With the backing of a major record label, Ferron's profile
was now higher than it had been at any other point in her two decade-long
career. from VHI