The Meteoric Weekend: Winston Walls meets Steve Ferguson
Concert film documenting a historic 1993 show to be screened
May 10 & 17 at the Floralee Hark Cohen Cinema
In April, 1993, Charleston’s venerable music venue, The Empty Glass, hosted a pair of shows
that featured two of the finest musicians on the planet: Winston Walls and Steve Ferguson.
Walls, a Charleston native, was rightly called The Boss of the B3. He was in a league of elite
Hammond players that included Jack McDuff, Groove Holmes and the incomparable Jimmy
Smith. He had traveled the country playing “Battle of the Organs” with players who set the gold
standard for the instrument.
Guitarist Steve Ferguson, co-founder of the band NRBQ was perhaps the most original rock ‘n’
blues guitarist in the U.S. In the early ’90s, he was rekindling and redefining his career. His
playing was nothing short of incendiary and he had written some of his best and most focused
songs to date.
Michael Lipton, then co-owner of The Empty Glass, reserved a weekend to feature his two
favorite musicians – although they had never before met. The set list consisted of mostly
Ferguson’s new crop of blues and soul tunes. Walls provided the perfect compliment – and then
some. Fully grasping the importance of the meeting, Lipton enlisted noted filmmaker Jacob
Young to document the weekend.
Fast forward three decades to August 2021. Young was rummaging through boxes and came
across the tapes. Young transferred the tapes to a digital format to see what he had to work
with. When Young and Lipton previewed the footage, there was no doubt that they had
preserved a priceless musical – and historical – document. The fact that both musicians had
passed – Ferguson in 2009 and Walls in 2008 – added to the significance, as did the fact that
Walls will be inducted into the WV Music Hall of Fame on June 3, 2023.
Lipton gifted the tapes to the WVMHoF and Young went to work editing the more than five hours
of footage. The result is a sizzling document of two of the best musicians of the latter part of the
century. Along with the concert footage, there were also priceless interviews.
The concert film and a short of Walls’ interview will be screened May 10 & 17 at The Floralee
Hark Cohen Cinema, located in the basement of Taylor Books in downtown Charleston. After the
film there will be a performance at The Empty Glass featuring a number of the musicians who
played the original show.