Canadian folk legend Stephen Fearing has had a busy and rather chaotic life for the past seven years, and the small respite he recently found himself in meant it was time to make his eighth solo album.
It’s called Between Hurricanes and it represents the fact that Fearing was literally in a place where he was trying to write an album and paint his house in Halifax before hurricane season hit, but also he was taking a break from his usually event-filled schedule.
“Things had stopped moving around a little bit,” said Fearing over the phone, while driving to his next stop on his cross-country tour.
Fearing is playing at the Errington Hall Friday, March 22 at 8 p.m.
In the past seven years, Fearing ended his 14-year marriage, his long-standing relationship with True North Records ended when the label was sold, and his manager announced he would be transitioning toward retirement. Fearing then remarried, gaining a young daughter, and moved to Halifax.
Fearing, a founding member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, was born in Vancouver and moved to Dublin when he was six years old. There, he went to a boarding school while also cranking out British pop chart tunes.
“Our radio was dominated by British charts, so whatever was top of the pops I’d kind of have a go at it,” he laughed.
He was also drawn to the North American singer songwriter types like Gordon Lightfoot and Paul Simon.
When he finished school, Fearing moved to the United States with a friend, an exchange student from Minneapolis. It was there he was first exposed to the coffeehouse circuit, where he said shortcomings in storytelling and entertaining become apparent. But it’s also a steep learning curve and very exciting, he said.
“I loved it because it was terrifying, it was nerve wracking — I think anybody who performs, the first time you step up and hang out your shingle, it’s sort of nerve wracking.”
And it wasn’t the last time Fearing went out on a limb with his music. As a young artist, he often wrote about relevant issues, such as his time on welfare, and said people appreciated him sticking his neck out, and responded.
The times he played at Massey Hall in Toronto stand out in Fearings mind, opening for big names and eventually playing with his group Blackie and the Rodeo Kings last March. That show was an important show, he said, and his mom flew out from Ireland to attend. It‚Äôs these types of venues where he‚Äôll simply walk in and become acutely aware of the long line of legends who have played there before him, he said.
‚ÄúWhen you walk into a venue that you know Duke Ellington played at, that‚Äôs a pretty big deal,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúSo Massey Hall has always been one of those places for me.‚Äù
Although Fearing has won multiple Juno awards and a West Coast Music Award, his biggest moments in his career have come when he‚Äôs been amongst excited music fans, the dots align, and something really great happens.
‚ÄúIn general it‚Äôs when you connect with people and you feel there are no fetters, there‚Äôs nothing in the way, and suddenly your fingers start moving and your voice opens up and the whole thing is free, it‚Äôs a wonderful feeling.‚Äù
Fearing played in the central Island area years ago, but has never played in Errington and is looking forward to it, he said.
Between Hurricanes was written with the intention of being able to perform with simply his guitar and his voice, he said, with audiences like the one in Errington in mind.
Tickets are $20 from Cranky Dog Music in Parksville, Heaven on Earth in Qualicum Beach, and the Errington Store. Youth are $5 at the door, and under 5‚Äôs are free.
Coffee, tea and fresh-baked good with be available.
For more on Fearing visit www.stephenfearing.com.