"These days it's done over the telephone or the Internet but the result is the same as it ever was: the mark hands over the money to the smooth-talking swindler; it's nothing new. The characters in Will Ferguson’s second novel Spanish Fly (Viking Canada, 2007), pull every kind of scam—from dead simple to elaborately choreographed—on every type of gullible mark, from store clerks to bank managers to other con artists. They do it while criss-crossing the American southwest during the pre-war, depression era. It is a fast-paced read that is a departure from Ferguson’s stock-in-trade, humour-driven, Canadian historical non-fiction, which includes the bestseller, How to Be a Canadian, co-written with his brother Ian. Will Ferguson is also the author of the tongue-in-cheek Why I Hate Canadians as well as the 2005 Leacock Medal for Humour winner, Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw. His first novel, Happiness, was also a Leacock Medal winner in 2002.
Somewhere in between James Taylor’s voice (if it was a little more whiskeysoaked and cigarette-smoked) and Waylon Jennings’s voice (if it was a little less soaked and toked) you get the voice of Tom Phillips: not too sweet, not too rough—just about perfect for a soundtrack to Will Ferguson’s gritty novel Spanish Fly. You can count the number of novels that have an accompanying soundtrack on one finger. This is it; it is a publishing first. Will contributed the lyrics to three of the 15 songs and Tom did the rest. The CD is a perfect companion to the book and its success sets an interesting precedent. Tom Phillips and his band, The Men of Constant Sorrow, have produced three studio CDs of original music, along with a live recording. They have played their infectious brand of hard-core honky-tonk and heart-wrenching cryin’ songs at clubs, concert halls and festivals all across Canada.
This is sure to be one of the most interesting and entertaining closing events in Festival history.
Josh Marantz, who provided background vocals and the voice of the radio announcer on the Spanish Fly CD, will join Will Ferguson and Tom Phillips onstage for this year's closing event. This one just keeps getting better." (christiguc)