Stephen Fearing

TrackAlbum
Beguiling EyesOut To Sea
Black Silk GownThat's How I Walk
These Golden DaysBetween Hurricanes
The Longest RoadThe Assassin's Apprentice
As The Crow FliesBetween Hurricanes
Town Called JesusThat's How I Walk
When My Baby Calls My NameThat's How I Walk
Anything You WantIndustrial Lullaby
The Finest KindThat's How I Walk
The Wheel Of LoveBetween Hurricanes

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Contributor: Jerry Tenenbaum

Stephen Fearing is a national (and international) treasure. He is a singer-songwriter and also a founding member of Blackie & The Rodeo Kings (B&RK) with Colin Linden and Tom Wilson.

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia and raised in Dublin, Ireland, he returned to Canada in 1981. Soon after his return, he briefly was part of a group (Fearing-Hunter-Wake with a cassette released) and then he released a cassette-only, self-titled album in 1986. Then came Out To Sea in 1988 and this was followed by 1991’s Blue Line, produced in London. He was signed to True North Records and began working with manager Bernie Finkelstein (who had Bruce Cockburn and many others under his guidance). With the re-release of his first two albums, his first official album for the label was The Assassin’s Apprentice (1994). Produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, the album features musical contributions from Sarah McLachlan and Richard Thompson. It was nominated for Best Roots & Traditional Album at the 1995 Juno Awards.

In 1996, Stephen Fearing joined forces with Colin Linden and Tom Wilson to form Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (coming soon to Toppermost). He resumed his solo career with 1998’s Industrial Lullaby (this intermittent solo or group approach became his routine). The album went on to earn a Best Roots & Traditional Album nomination at the 1998 Juno Awards. In 2000, Fearing released So Many Miles; recorded by Colin Linden, the album compiles two nights of performances in Toronto. For his next album, That’s How I Walk, he enlisted the help of Linden as a co-producer. The sessions for the album took place between Toronto and Nashville, and featured the backing band of Gary Craig (drums/percussion), John Dymond (bass), Ben Riley (drums/percussion), and Roberto Occhipinti (upright bass). Richard Bell, Ian Thornley, Leonard Podolak and Shawn Colvin also made guest appearances. Considered one of Fearing’s definitive works, it was nominated for Best Roots & Traditional Album at the 2003 Juno Awards. In 2006, Yellowjacket saw him taking on the role of producer for the first time on his own. The album features performances from Dan Whiteley, Jeff Bird, backing vocalist Suzie Vinnick, Josh Finlayson, Colin Linden, Gary Craig, John Dymond and Richard Bell. It went on to earn Fearing his first solo Juno Award, taking home the 2007 Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Solo Award.

In 2009, Fearing returned with The Man Who Married Music, a best-of collection compiling songs from his back catalogue and featuring two new tracks (The Big East West and No Dress Rehearsal). Two years later, he returned with Fearing & White, his collaboration with Northern Ireland-born performer Andy White. It features thirteen songs that were written over the course of the duo’s ten-year friendship. There may be more released from this duo. Between Hurricanes, Fearing’s first solo effort since Yellowjacket, was released in January 2013 on LowdenProud Records. The album features 10 songs written or co-written by Fearing with a bonus cover of the Gordon Lightfoot song, Early Morning Rain. The record was co-produced by John Whynot, who has worked with Fearing on numerous Blackie and the Rodeo Kings albums. Fearing has also produced recordings for other artists, including Suzie Vinnick’s Juno-nominated Happy Here (2008), for which he co-wrote most of the songs.

Stephen Fearing tours as a solo act often. He has a relentlessly busy schedule as a member of B&RK and tours with them too. Those who have been fortunate enough to hear Stephen solo and with B&RK recognize these concerts as ‘epic’ experiences. His performances evoke an emotional rainbow, and listening to him at home provides welcome reassurance and calm.

Stephen continues to create and has recently had an exhibit of his photographs at a showing in 2013. His creativity shows no sign of abating any time soon. Stephen Fearing remains a seminal force in music today. His lyrics coupled with his sensitive guitar work place him in the upper echelon of singer-songwriter performers.

Stephen Fearing official website

Stephen Fearing biography (iTunes)

TopperPost #176

1 Comment

  1. Colin Duncan
    Jan 25, 2014

    Interesting and informative article on Stephen Fearing. He has achieved much in his career. I play Blackie and the Rodeo Kings all the time, getting into them because of Band links and recommendations from Canadians, but I know little of the group’s members solo careers. Thanks, Jerry.

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