|In listening to Ferron's music, audiences are allowed to acknowledge the passage of time, people, memories, and hopes through her poetic metaphors. Her familiar vernacular, direct statements, enlightened associations, warm, husky voice, and engaging stage presence have permitted identification with her experiences and her process, her struggles and her wisdom, universal anguish and strength. Beginning in 1986, however, many of her followers began to wonder at and mourn her absence from recording and touring.
Born on June 2, 1952, Ferron grew up in a semi-rural suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, the eldest of seven children in a working-class family. After leaving home at 15, she scrambled financially, supporting herself by driving a cab, waitressing, shovelling gravel, and packing five pound bags of coffee in a factory. From her basement, she recorded and distributed Ferron (1977) and Ferron Backed Up (1978). Since both albums are now out-of-print collector's items, Ferron has decided to re-release much of their material on subsequent albums.
In 1978, Ferron was "discovered" by Gayle Scott, an American living and working in film production in Vancouver who became Ferron's first and only manager and business partner. Ferron and Gayle collaborated on Ferron's next two studio albums: Testimony (Lucy Records, 1980) and Shadows on a Dime (Lucy Records, 1984), on which Ferron continued to convey her polished messages of raw truths, through sharply lyrical, soothingly melodic music dealing with the cyclicity of relationships, questions of survival and identity, and optimism amid fear. Despite a small budget dependent on loans and contributions, in the absence of organized promotion, Shadows on a Dime received a four-star rating from Rolling Stone magazine.
In October of 1985, Ferron received a Canadian Council Arts Grant, enabling her to take a much-needed year off; ostensibly to write and take voice lessons but also to recover a long-neglected personal life. Recognizing that she would need more time than a year to fully heal from the hardships of the road and the vagaries of the business, Ferron remained withdrawn from the spotlight. After the grant money ran out, she earned a living by laboring as a carpenter's assistant and a bartender, and by doing daycare. Having reconnected with her physical and spiritual roots, having reaffirmed and redifined her own needs, Ferron has returned to the studio and the stage, having come to a remarkable new peace and with a fresh body of work: Phantom Center (Chameleon 1990), Resting with the Question (1992), Not a Still Life (1992) and Driver in 1993. ~ Phillip Ewing, 80s Retro Music