REVIEW BY BRENDA GOUGH
Canadian singer-songwriter Stephen Fearing returned to the Errington Hall with a wallop on April 18.
This time, the hero of the international roots and folk scene brought along Belfast troubadour Andy White and the super duo known as Fearing & White and they played some catchy, introspective songs they wrote together.
The two are currently on their Tea and Confidences tour, and the songs on their follow up album to their acclaimed 2011 debut, Fearing & White are made up of the stories of their lives.
On stage, their voices harmonized superbly as they fused rock and folk elements seamlessly into two sets full of fluent guitar playing and a top notch percussion accompaniment by drummer Kent Macrae.
While many of their songs are about Canadiana, their inspired lyrics are pulled from a variety of roots and also include stories about the hardships of living in Ireland.
With energy and an engaging stage presence featuring Fearing’s fine finger picking and vocals combined with White’s electric Brit-punk style, the music lifers gave the audience some guitar-driven rock numbers as well as some romantic ballads.
With more than 20 albums between them, the two musicians have been mixing powerful lyrics, creative arrangements and brilliant guitar playing for decades. Their chemistry made for a unique concert experience Friday night.
Fearing is a Juno-winner as a member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and an acclaimed solo artist, while Aussie-based Irish songsmith White is also a noted and prolific solo artist.
The two first teamed up in 2011 for Fearing & White, and Tea and Confidences is the sequel to their ‘bromance’ which began in 1998. The banter between songs, as they tuned their instruments was funny and provided some insight in to the stories and inspiration behind the lyrics.
Fearing and White told the crowd a funny story about how they met each other at the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
Each stage at the venue was named after some well known Canadian music icons including Joni Mitchell and Neil Young but White explained how he wanted to know who the Tim Horton stage was.
Fearing said they formed an instant friendship after he drove White to Tim Hortons where he attempted to introduce his new pal to Canada’s donut culture.
“We went on a crazy prairie night drive looking for donuts and I said we don’t even have to get out of the car.”
Fearing said his poor friend thought he was in Ireland again because the voice from the speaker advised them there were no donuts. Turns out they arrived a midnight during a shift change and the old donuts were tossed and fresh ones had not been made yet.
The musicians also shared the story of how they wrote Tea and Confidences in two short bursts of inspired madness. A brief stint in January 2012 at Fearings house in Halifax during a blizzard got the ball rolling.
It was followed by a four day write-athon on Saltspring Island in August 2012, where they nailed 11 songs and killed a few bottles of wine.
The two joked about how they were shunned on Salt Spring for smuggling in a van load of gluten to the Island while working on the album.