Wendell & Wheat

2:00pm Sunday, November 13, 2022


As sought after independent musicians, both Katherine Wheatley and Wendell Ferguson keep busy as solo artists and with various collaborators. As Wendell & Wheat these two musical friends bring a chemistry that is musically rich and just plain fun.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Famer (2014), Wendell Ferguson, has traveled the globe and accompanied a veritable who's who in both the country and folk genres as one of this country’s most talented guitar pickers. Wendell’s zany gentle wit is in contrast to his seriously amazing guitar chops and has perhaps been best summarized as "The Victor Borge of the guitar" by Country Music News.

Katherine Wheatley is no slouch on the guitar either, but this is just one component of the package she brings to the table. To quote the Old Chestnut News “Lyrically, her songs are thoughtful and reflective, sometimes funny...often poignant...Melodically and harmonically, all her songs were beautifully crafted and expertly performed. But it's her performance of the songs that remains so memorable.”

Tickets are $25.00 plus service fees available through TicketsPlease.ca
The MERA schoolhouse is located at 974 Dalhousie Concession 9A, McDonald’s Corners, ON.

Katherine and Wendell brought a wonderful afternoon of music and fun to MERA in the fall of 2019 and we are thrilled to have Wendell & Wheat back!  The following review by Robert Reid of the Record gives an accurate description of what to expect:

KITCHENER – We’re all familiar with the two masks of ancient Greek drama representing comedy and tragedy.
It might be a little over the top to suggest Wendell Ferguson and Katherine Wheatley wore the laughing face and the weeping face, respectively, for their concert Saturday at Folk Night at the Registry.
Still, it was definitely a case of opposites attracting and opposites being attractive to audience members.
While the extroverted Ferguson regaled the sellout crowd with musical satires and parodies, the introspective Wheatley mined the contours of a broken heart like a prospector panning for romantic gold.
The emotional ebb and flow made for a deeply rewarding concert, causing you to laugh out loud one minute before giving you pause to contemplate the mysteries of love the next.
Ferguson is a devilishly clever wordsmith, but his lyrical calisthenics are not ends in themselves. They provide the verbal framing for the musical houses he constructs with extraordinary guitar playing.
Many of his lyrical ditties referenced music, whether it was P-I-G, a parody of Tammy Wynette’s D-I-V-O-R-C-E, The Barnyard Two Step, Throw Another Fiddle on the Fire or Why Does Every Christmas Song Have So Many Chords?
Others lampooned such themes as bad driving (The Way I Drive) and the exaggerated claims of male anatomy set in cottage country (Great Big Johnson).
If Ferguson has a guitar hero it is Chet Atkins. He offered a couple of original instrumentals as tribute to the legendary Nashville musician and producer with Save Your Fork, There’s Pie and Fret No More, in addition to a cover of Mr. Sandman.
You would be wrong to think Ferguson only writes musical lampoons, even if he wouldn’t be caught dead singing one of them.
So it fell on Wheatley to deliver Wallflower Waltz, a country torch song the two musical companions co-wrote while touring Eastern Canada.
Most of Wheatley’s material was drawn from her hot-off-the-press third album Landed.
It has been a decade since she released Habits and Heroes. And she acknowledged it was “a personal album” that was “difficult to make.”
You don’t have to be a drugstore psychologist to garner from the songs that Landed was inspired by heartbreak.
But it’s a credit to Wheatley’s artistry as a songwriter that she has transformed personal sorrow into song poems with which we can all identify.
She painted her songs with a vocal palette spanning the emotional spectrum of colour, nuance, texture and depth.
She balanced the deep feeling of Signal Faded, Loved a Man, the 3:17 and the brilliant One True Kiss with the tongue-in-cheek revenge fantasy Run Away.
She also offered her joyous metaphorical tribute to gardening Hallelujah, as well as a couple of earlier songs Mrs. McIvor and Some Sweet Country.
Ferguson and Wheatley bantered and kibitzed throughout the concert. They kept the mood casual and informal and Wheatley welcomed audience members to join in on a few songs.
It was obvious both performers enjoyed themselves and that sense of pleasure was reciprocated by the audience who responded with a rousing standing ovation.


WENDELL FERGUSON – The 7-Time CCMA Guitar Award Winner who has won so many times that they retired him. He’s no longer eligible. Insanity on the guitar and hilarious on the mic, Wendell has played with George Fox, Shania Twain, Lisa Brokop, Michelle Wright, Tommy Hunter, The Dixie Chicks and countless more!

Article by Larry Delaney June 8, 2021 for CMA Ontario Pioneers Series

Wendell Ferguson is the “Mr. Do-It-All” of Canadian country music. A guitar player, a singer, a songwriter, a producer, a band leader, a comedian, an industry executive… and probably a whole lot more.

Born and still residing in Streetsville (Mississauga), Ontario, Wendell became fixated on being a guitar player after hearing Chet Atkins play the instrument. Although he took several years of formal guitar lessons, Wendell was off-and-running as a guitar player, fueled more by listening to and emulating the recordings of some of his guitar idols: Chet Atkins, Les Paul, The Ventures and other guitar gods.

In 1987, after years of practice and dues-paying, Wendell formed the five-member country band Coda The West, which also featured the talents of vocalist Helena Kameka, bassist Gord Lemon, Burke Carroll on steel guitar and Craig Bignell on drums. Initially the band worked as the CKGL Travelling Road Show Band out of Kitchener, opening shows for many of the country’s top touring acts. In 1991, Coda The West was called upon as the house band for Country Music Week events staged that year in Hamilton. By 1993, the group was so well entrenched that they garnered nominations for CCMA’s Vista Rising Star and for Group of The Year; and all five band members were nominated for All-Star Band citations.

While the Coda The West unit was moving ahead, charting numerous singles from their self-titled 1994 album (which contained seven songs penned by Wendell), he was also busy working side projects as a producer (Colette Rose, Rob Reed, John Boyko, etc.); as a songwriter, with Colette Rose enjoying success with Wendell’s songs “Two Story House” and “Keep It A Secret”; and as Musical Arranger on recordings by Bob Everett, Brendan Gillam, Loretta Cormier, etc.

Fast Forward to 1998 and we find Wendell Ferguson releasing the first in what would be a series of solo albums, mixing his guitar strengths with his off-the-cuff songwriting and his distinctive vocal styling. The first album, “I Pick Therefore I Jam”, was loaded with truly innovative work; not the least of which being a duet offering, “If You’re Gonna Be A Cowboy”, with Russell deCarle of Prairie Oyster fame – their effort earning a nomination for Collaboration of the Year at the 1999 CCMA Awards.

Wendell’s follow-up albums were just as impressive for both the content and the titles of each release: “Happy Songs Sell Records – Sad Songs Sell Beer” (2003); “Wendell Ferguson Live! The $#!T Hits The Fans” (2005); “Wendell Ferguson’s Cranky Christmas”; and the 2009 “Menage A Moi” – an instrumental collection of Wendell’s tunes.

Meanwhile Wendell’s guitar work was much in-demand, and he was often called upon to tour in support of top-level Canadian artists, including: Shania Twain, George Fox, Duane Steele, Tommy Hunter, Michelle Wright, etc. His own artistry as a singer/songwriter and his comedic side has also kept him busy working his own show dates, as well as private ‘house’ dates; and for a number of years, was the Musical Director for the Canadian Country Music Association Awards Show. In 2005, he co-hosted that Awards Show with country star Paul Brandt.

In addition to his prowess on stage and on his records, Wendell Ferguson has also shown some “executive” talents, serving terms on the Board of Directors for both the Canadian Country Music Association and the Country Music Association of Ontario.

Wendell Ferguson’s work has not gone unrewarded. He was nominated for a Juno Award (in 1995, for Group of the Year with Coda The West) and he has been named the CCMA’s All-Star Band Guitar Player of the Year so many times that he is deemed no longer eligible; a seemingly unjust decision.

Wendell Ferguson was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014.

Tickets are $25.00 plus service fees available through TicketsPlease.ca
The MERA schoolhouse is located at 974 Dalhousie Concession 9A, McDonald’s Corners, ON.

Before she was a working musician, KATHERINE WHEATLEY worked for the Canadian Geological Survey, gathering not just rock samples, but material for her songs. Then - music was her hobby. Now - as she travels between shows on North Americas highways where the rock cuts show the best of the earths history, geology has become her hobby. The landscape, as well as the characters she encounters on her travels, continue to inspire her songs.

Katherine's music has been used for television documentaries, series and films. She has been a featured vocalist on Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe, as well as a musical guest on TVO's Studio Two, CBC's Vicki Gabareau Show and CTV's Canada AM. In addition to touring across Canada, the U.S. and Europe as a singer/songwriter, Katherine is a member of the band "Betty and The Bobs" and plays guitar in Wendell Ferguson's "Smoking Section". She was one of 33 artists, including The Barenaked Ladies, Bruce Cockburn, and Sarah McLachlan, selected for FACTOR'S (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records) 20th Anniversary compilation CD. Her first CD, Straight Line, spent 17 weeks on Sam's Top 10 Independent Chart with nine of those weeks at number 2. Her second CD, Habits and Heroes, featured a stellar cast of musicians (The Bands Richard Bell, Blue Rodeos Basil Donovan, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings Colin Linden) and received glowing accolades from critics and fans alike.

Katherine’s passion for songwriting began with a 13 dollar guitar ordered from the Sears Catalogue. She sang back-ups and played coffeehouses while doing geology but put the hammer down when she was 30. She studied jazz composition and arranging at Humber College, winning the Duke Ellington Award for arranging, the Gordon Delamont Award for Composition and the CMPA award for songwriting. She is in high demand for her innovative songwriting workshops that cover many aspects of songwriting: lyric writing, chord progression theory, melody writing and sustaining creativity. She also created YOUTHSONGS, a songwriting and recording program for schools. She presents the program at schools in Canada and the US and is valued for her genuine caring and special intuition for connecting with all age groups.

Tickets are $25.00 plus service fees available through TicketsPlease.ca
The MERA schoolhouse is located at 974 Dalhousie Concession 9A, McDonald’s Corners, ON.