I have been a fan of Stephen Fearing for almost 30 years, ever since Beguiling Eyes, from his 1988 album Out to Sea, soothed my tortured soul on many lonely nights in the late 1980s.
His new album, Every Soul’s a Sailor is the rightful heir to that first album, especially the title track, which is lovely.
Of the album, and that song, Fearing writes:
Musically, I have traveled consistently between the two poles of “solo” and “ensemble”. With this album I wanted to see if I could bring those two worlds together in the studio and then out on the road, touring with a trio. I deliberately set out to write the songs with an ensemble in mind and from the very start I tried to imagine how the tunes would sound played live by a trio. Most of this material was written or finished during a week-long trip into the mountains, where I holed up at a friend’s cabin in Wells BC. with a woodstove and a fine collection of eclectic roots music to listen to when I ran out of steam. I brought my Telecaster and my trusty Manzer acoustic, a small amplifier and a goodly supply of pencils and paper. Certainly the title song could not have been written anywhere else.
On the ensemble end of that spectrum are the equally lovely tracks Gone But Not Forgotten and Red Lights in the Rain, both of which feature harmony by the transcendent Rose Cousins.
I last saw Fearing play live, in Sackville, three years ago; it was a great night, a port in a storm of personal chaos that came just at the right time. If you have a chance to hear him tour this album, I recommend it.