Album: Every Soul's A Sailor
Label: Self Released
Stephen Fearing's ninth studio record and it may just happen to be his best to date.
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, he grew up in Dublin, Ireland where his schoolmates included future members of U2. In 1981, he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and immersed himself in the music scene, learning the fundamentals of song writing and performing, and by 1984 he was back in Vancouver, determined to become a professional musician. In the years since, he's been named as one of the finest songwriters in Canada and has built a national - and international - audience for his music, doing it old school through countless performances at intimate venues and on the concert stages of festivals and theatres across Canada, the US, the UK, and Europe.
It may be through this background that lies the key to his innate gift of telling Stories through song, with his constant miles on the road, and as with the very best songwriters his unique ability to observe people and situations, take note and form superbly crafted lines that weave the tale, sometimes heart rending, sometimes hard hitting but always sincere and truthful. Once you get past the song writing aspect and delve deeper into the structure and accompaniment of the music you begin to realize that a master is at work for not only is Fearing a superb craftsman of thought through word, he is also an outstanding musician and arranger.
Listening to the album from the outset on 'Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is' you'll understand the symmetry of his lyrics and composition and how seamlessly they are intertwined, giving you the ambience, mood and delivering the message whilst presenting a superb soundtrack to it all through a five minute movie.
On track two 'Red Lights In The Rain' you get the feeling he is telling you his tale, having a longing to be near the sea. Time as a youngster in Vancouver and Ireland, his recent move from the east coast back to the west coast of Canada including all the touring miles in between have me getting to know Stephen on a personal level 'I'm always drawn to sit beside the ocean, with the water and the wind and the tide 'I am entranced by his story, 'I learned to pack a suitcase as a child. 'has me thinking deeply, is it his story or mine ? The more I listen, the more I indentify with myself and I'm drawn in to listen again and ask more questions.
'Blowhard Nation'sees Fearing venting his frustration at the recent Presidential elections in the US, 'The Circus is coming to town 'sums up what the world sat open jawed observing. In his own words " Blowhard Nation is a roots-rock anthem inspired by my incredulity and outrage over Donald Trump's con-man campaign of hate and fear. I'm donating all of my proceeds from the song to War Child, a charity serving the very people Trump wants to turn away from a life of health, education, and safety."
Three tracks in and the album twists and turns, taking an amazingly thought provoking journey, with outstanding tracks yet to come like the finger clickin', foot tappin''Love Like Water', the beautifully intriguing and eloquent 'Better Than Good' bring us to the title track 'Every Soul's A Sailor' which begs questions about our creation, our life, our mortality, or is it Stephen Fearing's life and existence we are listening to ?
With so many projects in his arsenal, as a solo artist, with Blackie and The Rodeo Kings and with Andy White it is easy to see where he can pull influences and soundscapes from, there is a touch of all of the above in this album, but the one commonality is the involvement and genius that is Stephen Fearing, everyone will identify with the songs on a personal level throughout, and the gift again becomes apparent, Stephen Fearing has the gift to write what he feels, the gift to write what you and I feel, the gift to write what we may want to say but are not quite sure how, he has given us the gift of rolling on the deep, images of love that take us to places of understanding about the human soul and the beauty of perfectly loving someone, images also of unrequited love that take us to new places of understanding about the potential and often very real pain and anguish of human soul caused by another person.
Due for release in January with tours of mainland Europe, the UK and Canada planned from January until April, do yourself a favour, form an orderly queue, pre order a copy before it sells out and acquaint yourself with the master songsmith who is Stephen Fearing, you'll be glad you did.