At an early age Cyril 'Dry Bread' Ferguson was influenced by the music that he heard from the church. Spending his early years on Crooked Island, he learned the ways of the Family Island people. Living off the land, getting by with no refrigeration, going “through the bush” for food, and raising chickens were only a small part of everyday challenges. All of these challenges helped to retrain his thinking from the luxuries of the capital city, Nassau.
Dry Bread recalls the melodies and rhythms of hand clapping and foot stomping from his early childhood coming back to him in later years. The return of these influences greatly influenced his compositional skills. He later moved to Freeport where he started performing locally at talent shows. Eventually he formed a band and occasionally performed in various Family Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands to the south of The Bahamas. One of his biggest hits, "Don't Squeeze The Mango", was written while on the Island of Bimini, inspired by a produce saleslady who, very impatiently, said to him, "Hurry take one and go; don't squeeze the mango".
"Many of my songs are about things that happen to me on the Island" (Ferguson, 2004), thus propelling Dry Bread to the art similar to that of the calypso singers. The song "Montague" tells the story of one of our historical fort site hotels that was demolished a few years ago.
Dry Bread describes his music as "Bahamian Music", and trying to categorize his music did present some challenges. His use of the drum machine in many of his songs gave a non-traditional rhythm to his music. However, the very rhythmic strum of the guitar, and the fun lyrics gave a calypso/goombay feel. His influence, or the influences evident in his music, can be heard in the music of many of the younger prominent artists such as KB and Geno D.
These days, he resides in Freeport, and much like he did in the early seventies, Dry Bread plays mostly solo jobs as a result of very few available musicians and jobs to keep a band together. Recently, Dry Bread decided to return to school in order to enhance his musical knowledge.
After spending some time at The College of The Bahamas, he returned to recording, performing, and making his musical contribution to his country. Of all the musicians in his generation, Dry Bread stands out as one who has consistently contributed to the music repertoire of The Bahamas. His efforts, he admits, rarely paid off financially. But, his fusing of the various styles of Bahamian rhythms continues to earn him a special place in the history of the music of The Bahamas.