Riverboat John Ferguson

Why book Riverboat John Ferguson?

Singer-Storyteller-Guitar/Banjo Player-After-Speaker & Author. Music & Story of Early America through today. Stage/Strolling. Entertaining/Flexible/Affordable/Motivational. All ages, backgrounds and venues. No audience too large or small. Children and Family Programs. Seniors..Corporate and company parties and get-togethers. Multi-tasker at an event.



Review by Philip D. R.

well prepared for our group, very talented, excellent and appropriate humor without being distastful.

Priced Fairly
Reviewer: Philip D. R.
Organization: Woodmen of the World
Event: Retreat in Blountsville, AL
Event Date: Sep 21, 2010
Hired As: Singing Guitarist

Response from Riverboat John Ferguson:

This was a fun event for me as as after-dinner one hour program for 150 people who were looking for a good time up-beat, up-lifting program. Hope they have me back.

Review by Danny M.

Riverboat John is a classic entertainer/storyteller/musician great vocals he has found a special way to bring back memories of a slower more relaxed time. We enjoyed his show. Danny Moon/moonsongmusic.com.

Priced Fairly
Reviewer: Danny M.
Organization: moonsongmusic
Event: Restaurant in Gadsden, AL
Event Date: Oct 2, 2010
Hired As: Author, Folk Singer, Singer/Songwriter, Singing Guitarist

Review by Armand P.

John has always been a pleasyre to work with. He has a happy and fun attitude about his work but is also very professional. Our doors are always open to him.

Priced Fairly
Reviewer: Armand P.
Organization: Arabian Theater
Event: Birthday Party in Arab, AL
Event Date: Aug 31, 2010
Hired As: Arts/Entertainment Speaker, Author, Educational Entertainment, Folk Singer, Singer/Songwriter, Singing Guitarist, Spoken Word Artist

Response from Riverboat John Ferguson:

Hey Armand...Enjoyed doing the "Birthday Party Concert"...Since it was my Birthday...Thanks..

Review by Jan M.

Riverboat John performed in a number of venues to help us celebrate the writings of Mark Twain. He performed in elementary schools,middle schools, and senior centers and interacted wonderfully with audiences of all ages. I would definitely recommend his work!

Priced Fairly
Reviewer: Jan M.
Organization: South Central Tennessee Workforce alliance
Event: Concert Venue in Columbia, TN
Event Date: Mar 12, 2009
Hired As: Folk Singer

Response from Riverboat John Ferguson:

Thanks for your kind words Jan. Without people like you, society would not be enriched.

Review by Norm H.

Riverboat John was a featured entertainer during the 2010 DuQuoin State Fair from Aug. 28 - Sept.6. Riverboat John was a roving entertainer as well as a performer on a variety of stages during this year's fair and was thoroughly enjoyed by thousands! He even received a significant amount of air-time as he was a feature story for one of the area's television news broadcasts!

Priced Fairly
Reviewer: Norm H.
Organization: DuQuoin State Fairgrounds
Event: Fair in Du Quoin, IL
Event Date: Aug 28, 2010
Hired As: Variety Entertainer, Singer/Songwriter, Spoken Word Artist

Review by Joan R.

Riverboat John has been a hired performer at our fair for the past many years. He has always been a welcome event and the crowds simply love him. He is easy to work with and very accomodating to our needs. He would be a great event to add to any fair that caters to all ages.

Priced Fairly
Reviewer: Joan R.
Organization: Harford County Farm Fair, Inc.
Event: Fair in Bel Air, MD
Event Date: Jul 30, 2010
Hired As: Variety Entertainer, Arts/Entertainment Speaker, Educational Entertainment, Folk Singer, Motivational Speaker, Singer/Songwriter, Singing Guitarist, Spoken Word Artist

Review by Jacky J. W.

Real professional. Good musical storyteller in best Americana tradition.

Priced Fairly
Reviewer: Jacky J. W.
Organization: Sucarnochee Revue
Event: Concert Venue in Livingston, AL
Event Date: Mar 26, 2010
Hired As: Folk Singer

Booking Info

  • Typical Gig: 15 - 120 minutes
  • Fee: Contact for rates
  • Languages: English


Performances by "Riverboat John" may range from an impromptu song or story or a formal stage show. He always has a way to attract the attention span of any age and to sing the right songs. He can also perform with a symphony or orchestra.Song, story, antics, anecdotes, humor, motivation, history, heritage, flexible and a remembrance that the audience will take home. Not a stereo-type performer.

Additional Booking Notes

Can provide lights, sound, small covered one-man stage,themed props, and special tailor made songs, stories and audience participation material.

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".

Chattanooga Free Press says, "Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn all wrapped up in one, a banjo on his knee and river water in his veins".

New Orleans Times Picayune says, "A real character from the riverboat days and one of the best strolling acts we have seen in awhile"!

In addition to his stage shows and roving entertainment act, "Riverboat John" is available for educational programs Pre-K through 12; Colleges & Universities, Teacher Workshops & School Parenting Programs; Adult Education; and Senior's Events.

Some Kudos' Include:
Monroe County Museum, "back to the days when a live performance was not just a visual aid;

Toledo Public Library, "told us things about our history we didn't even know";

Honeywell Performing Arts Center, "Two standing ovations, great stories, fantastic baritone voice";

Chautauqua, New York, "What a booming voice & throwback to the good old days";

Indiana University, "kept us spellbound on Super Bowl Sunday, educational & fun";

Clinton Arts Council, "Great blend of story & song";

Three Rivers College, "Two years in a row, he's great, we're having him back";

Mobile Public Libraries, "Artist-In-Residence, good crowds, content & performance";

Portsmouth Museum, "His river stories kept us excited, entertained & were educational;

Johnson City, TN. Symphony, "What a great job as guest artist in our "Christmas on the River", a booming voice";

Columbus Riverfest, "We want him every year".

Gulfshores Civic Center, Summer Concert Series, "Excellent Crowd & Kudos";

New Orleans Jazz Fest; "One of the best roving acts we've had in a long time and we loved his original material".

Thorsby, Al. High School, "Our students loved him and he was right on target with his curriculum".

Decatur, Illinois Street Festival," A natural for our largest outdoor festival in the country".;

Tall Stacks, Cincinnati; "His third time with us and ready for the next one. We like him"!

World of Nations Festival in Jacksonville, FL, "On the boat, on the grounds, in the food court! He's everywhere"!

Cotton Pickin'& Ginnin' Festival, Rayville, La.," On the stages he held their attention and on the grounds he had'um staring"!,

Motlow College,"An intricate part of our story telling festival".

Greater Baton Rouge State Fair; "Three years in a row as a premier roving entertainer".

A Victorian Christmas, Savannah, TN. "He has become a main part of our Christmas in Savannah"; etc, etc, etc.

San Antonio Rodeo & Livestock Show, "Unbelievable. He had real cowboys and cattlemen standing at all six of his shows every day for 17 days. Who would believe that someone from Alabama that does not claim to be a cowboy could hold a crowd of the "real thing". The Cowboys of Texas!"

Bay Minette, Alabama Community Concert Series, "They all liked him so much they drove all the way across town for the after concert reception and stayed way past the designated time to be with him. He was great!"

South Carolina State Fair, "Every time we looked up, there he was. Always telling a story or singing a song!"

The team providing the talent:

John Ferguson

Sole Proprietor

Set List

Wagon Wheels-- Numerous Artists
Oh! Susannah-- Stephan Foster
I Know I've Been Loved-- John Ferguson
In My Old Rocking Chair – John Ferguson
Ghost Riders In The Sky-- Tex Ritter-Gordon McRae
Back in the Saddle Again-- Gene Autry
Jamaica Farewell-- Harry Belafonte
St. Louis Blues-- W.C. Handy
Riverboat Blues-- John Ferguson
Summertime-- Numerous-Porgy & Bess
I'm Going Down that Road that I Left on when I left Home-- John Ferguson
Jambalaya-- Hank Williams
Stormy Weather-- Lene Horn
Cripple Creek-- Old Time Traditional Folk
Shall We Gather At The River-- Old Traditional Gospel
Seek Ye First-- Gospel
Surely the Presence-- Gospel
I'll Be Home For Christmas-- Numerous Artists
Jingle Bells-- Gene Autry
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer-- Gene Autry
Holly Jolly Christmas-- Berl Ives
Frosty the Snowman-- Numerous
God Bless America-- Numerous
Way Down Yonder in New Orleans-- Louis Armstrong
This Ole House-- Rosemary Clooney
The Bend in the River-- Marty Robins

Mr. & Mississippi-- Patti Paige/Rosemary Clooney
Miss the Mississippi-- Jimmie Rogers
My Country Tis Of Thee-- Numerous
Lazybones-- Louis Armstrong
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes-- Platters
Scarlet Ribbons-- Harry Belefonte
Stardust-- Nat King Cole
I'm Goin' Down That Road Feelin' Bad-- Woodie Guthrie
Will The Circle Be Unbroken-- Carter Family
Mull of Kintire-- Paul McCartney
From the Bottom of my Heart-- John Ferguson
Got on my Good Hat & Long Tail Coat-- John Ferguson

How I lLove the Old Man River-- John Ferguson
Old Man River-- Paul Robeson/Wm. Warfield
Shenandoah-- Traditional
Danny Boy-- Traditional
I'm Just a Country Boy-- Red Foley
Old MacDonald-- Traditional Kid's Song
I Am A Rover-- English Broadside
Mary in the Mornin'-- Roger Whitaker
Tom Dooley-- Kingston Trio
Star Spangled Banner-- Francis Scott Key
Hunters of Kentucky-- War of 1812 Folk Song
Battle of New Orleans-- Johnny Horton-Jimmy Driftwood
Goggle Eye Gee-- Arthur Godfrey Kid's Song
Stars Fell on Alabama-- Numerous
I Believe-- Frankie Laine
Oklahoma-- Gordon McRae
They Call the Wind Maria-- Numerous Artists
River Stay Away From My Door-- Rosemary Clooney
Tennessee Waltz-- Patti Paige
This Little Light of Mine-- Traditional-Gospel-Children's Song
Blue Moon of Kentucky-- Bill Monroe
Old Joe Clark-- Old Time Traditional Folk
Cumberland Gap-- Old Time Traditional Folk
Brown's Ferry Blues-- Delmore Brothers
Marianne-- Brothers Four
Anytime-- Eddy Arnold
East Virginia Blues-- Traditional Folk Song
Rocky Top-- Budeleau Bryant
Yellow Rose of Texas-- Traditional Folk Song
Rose of Alabama-- Traditional Folk Song
Polly Wolly Doodle-- Traditonal Folk Song
Buffalo Gals-- Traditional Folk Song
This Land is Your Land-- Woody Guthrie
Yo! Ho! Ho! and a Bottle of Rum-- Old Pirate Song
Shiver Me Timbers-- Sea Song-John Ferguson
Rosin the Beau-- Old Fiddle Tune
Ain't No Bugs on Me-- Uncle Dave Macon
Hungry Hash House-- Uncle Dave & Grandpa Jones
Darby's Ram-- Delmore Brothers & Grandpa Jones
Unclouded Day-- Brown's Ferry Four
Blow Yoe Whistle Freight Train-- Delmore Brothers
Peace in the Valley-- Elvis
Yesterday-- Beatles
Dream-- Everley Brothers
The Rose-- Conway Twitty-Bette Midler
Old Blue-- Uncle Dave Macon
Old Rattler-- Uncle Dave Macon
The Last Farewell-- Roger Whitaker
On the Sunny Side of the Street-- Jo Stafford
Only You-- The Platters
Sentimental Journey-- Les Brown Orchestra
Basin Street Blues-- Louis Armstrong
What a Wonderful World-- Louis Armstrong
Fair & Tender Ladies-- Peter, Paul & Mary
The River is Wide-- Kingston Trio
Natchez-- John Ferguson
Hey! Ho! The Tombigbee-- John Ferguson
The Rivers I Remember-- John Ferguson
On Top of Old Smokey-- The Weavers
Good Night Irene-- The Weavers
John Henry-- Harry Belefonte
The Catfish Song-- Children's Song-John Ferguson
I Like Peanut Butter-- Children's Song-John Ferguson
The Rattlesnake Song-- Children's Song--John Ferguson
Froggie Went A'Courtin'-- Traditional Children's Song
The Three Little Pigs-Original Song-- Traditional Children's Song
The Three Little Pigs-Adult Version-- John Ferguson
Detroit City-- Lefty Frizzell
Talk Back Tremblin' Lips-- Ernie Ashworth
Green Green Grass of Home-- Curly Putnam
Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia-- Jimmie Rogers
Twilight Time-- The Platters
A Kiss to Build a Dream On-- Louis Armstrong
A White Sport Coat-- Marty Robbins
C'est Si Bon-- Louis Armstrong
Blue Skies-- Willie Nelson
Kentucky Waltz-- Bill Monroe
Alabama Waltz-- Hank Williams
Fireball Mail-- Roy Acuff
She'll Be Comin' 'Round The Mountain-- Traditional Kid's Song
Whiskey in the Jar-- Irish Folk Song
Kumbyah -- Ghanan/US Folk Song
Wimmoweh-- Kenyan African Folk Song
Greenback Dollar-- Hoyt Axton
Greenfields-- Brothers Four
Golden Vanity-- Traditional-Pete Segar-Burl Ives
Can I Trust You WIth My Heart-- Travis Tritt
Keeper of the Stars-- Danny Mayo
Suddenly There's A Valley-- Various
Blue Moon-- Billy Eckstine & The Marcels
Dixie-- Daniel Decatur Emmett
I've Been Workin' On The Railroad-- Traditional Kid's Song
Arkansas Traveler-- Old Fiddle Tune
Blue Tail Fly-- Berl Ives-Dan Emmett
Somebody Bigger Than You & I-- Ernie Ford/Andy Griffith
This Little Light Of Mine-- Gospel Kid's Song
Cool Water-- Roy Rogers-Sons of the Pioneers
Pick a Bale of Cotton-- American Folk
Old Cotton Fields Back Home-- Rooftop Singers
Five Hundred Miles-- Peter, Paul & Mary
If I Had A Hammer-- Pete Seger-Peter, Paul & Mary
Amazing Grace-- Traditional Gospel Song
Polly Wolly Doodle-- Traditional Kids Song
Happy Trails-- Roy Rogers
Sixteen Tons-- Ernie Ford
River of No Return-- Ernie Ford
Old Sand Mountain Home-- Tom Prickett/Richard Burgess
Beal Street Blues-- Louis Armstrong
Georgia On My Mind-- Hoagy Carmichael
Camptown Races-- Stephan Foster
My Old Kentucky Home-- Stephan Foster
Ring Ring The Banjo-- Stephan Foster
Beautiful Dreamer-- Stephan Foster
Bend In The River-- Marty Robins
Thinkin' About Last Summer-- Kingston Trio
Oh! What A Beautiful Morning-- Gordon McRae
Sand Mountain Blues-- Delmore Brothers
The Fishin' Hole-- Andy Griffith
I'm Goin' Back To Alabam-- Lew Childre
Pop's Corn Licker Still-- Grandpa Jones
High Noon-- Tex Ritter

Ramblin' Rose-- Nat King Cole
Unforgetable-- Nat King Cole
White Christmas-- Bing Crosby
The Christmas Song-- Nat King Cole-Mel Torme
High Hopes-- Frank Sinatra-Eddie Hodges
Swinging on a Star-- Bing Crosby
Big John-- Jimmy Dean
Down in the Arkansas-- Bill McCampbell
Stardust-- Hoagy Carmichael-Nat Cole
Deep River-- American Negro Spiritual
Steal Away-- American Negro Spiritual
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry-- Hank Williams
Cripple Creek-- Traditional
The Prisoner's Song-- Vernon Dalhardt
Bury Me Out On The Lone Prairie-- Tex Ritter
The Wedding Song-- Traditional
Always & Forever-- Heatwave
Blowin' In The Wind-- Bob Dylan
Suddenly There's A Valley-- Various Artists
Sweet Beulah Land-- Squire Parsons
Over the Rainbow-- Judy Garland
Lucky Old Sun-- Frankie Laine
High Hopes-- Frank Sinatra
Hound Dog-- Elvis Presley
Beautiful Brown Eyes-- Delmore Brothers
Aaron Copelands Old American Songs-- William Warfield
Boatman's Song-- Dan Emmett
I Wish I was a Little Bird-- John Ferguson
Mark Twain-- John Ferguson
You are my Sunshine-- Jimmie Davis
Moon River-- Andy Williams
Glendy Burke-- Stephan Foster
Old Folks at Home (et all)-- Stephan Foster
Sittin' on the Front Porch-- John Ferguson
Today-- New Christie Minstrels
Greenfields-- Brothers Four
500 Miles-- Peter, Paul & Mary
Blowin' in the Wind-- Bob Dylan
Where Have all the Flowers Gone-- Pete Seger
Whiskey Nancy-- Irish Folk Song
The Audubon Zoo-- Traditional New Orleans Children's Song
Tom & Huck-- Children's Song-John Ferguson
I Got Me A Cat-- Traditional Children's Song
Your Cheatin' Heart-- Hank Williams
All Around The Water Tank-- Jimmie Rogers
Good Night Irene-- Weavers

Influences & Inspiration

Influenced by Stephan Foster, W.C. Handy,Louis Armstrong, Gene Autry, Berl Ives, Johnny Cash, William (Bill) Warfield, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London, Billy Graham and a host of others.

Setup Requirements

From a simple chair to full-blown stage and lighting, there are certain configurations and needs that many performers and service providers require in order to provide the best possible experience at your event. Get a free quote request to check with Riverboat John Ferguson to find out what their setup requirements are.

Free Quote Request


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