Stephen Fearing “Every Soul’s A Sailor” (Lowden Proud, 2017)

Seasoned singer-songwriter, guitarist Stephen Fearing is one of those acts who radiate quality and great depth; a real professional Fearing has honed his talent to the zenith degree. Nothing is surplus. Everything dovetails perfectly into place. Canadian Fearing performs with a driving rhythm complemented with sensitive ballads where you could hear a pin drop – a good example is the mellow, effortlessly drifting classic Red Lights In The Rain that’s awash in lyrics to study. 

Reverting to those of a bustling feel, Fearing and the band (John Dymond, bass guitar), Gary Craig (drums, percussion) and David Travers Smith (horns; though he doesn’t play on this track) lay it down with vigor as they stomp out a killer beat on Blowhard Nation. Fearing on lending a greater urgency and more freedom to his music (and boy isn’t his playing sharp!) the album shows him to be a stronger performer. Never is this better or clearer illustrated than on The Things We Did; you could not wish for playing of a finer quality as he plays some beautiful old-fashioned finger picked blues acoustic guitar. Fearing speaks in jaunty fashion of how he ‘Got a job at seventeen, and took the reins at twenty-one of the local newspaper. A man of the world who tells the world of the things we did’ . It’s all-round brilliant, with wondrous melody, and he makes it all sound and feel simple to perform, but rarely is it heard performed and rarer still at this standard. Go rack your brains, because you don’t come across something as beautiful as this everyday. Fearing is equally impressive on an electric lead guitar warmed chugging ode Love The Deal.

Gone But Not Forgotten is a mellow love ballad warmed in horns and a gentle caressing rhythm that edges towards jazz without categorizing the tune, coming with a brighter feel is the probing rocking piece Love Like Water. While Carousel possesses has a John Gorka-like feel as Fearing speaks of how life can at times feel like you are forever walking into walls but you are not alone here and of how you shouldn’t give up. Closing off the album you have Better Than Good, a beautifully structured affair it contains a warm timeless muse, and with a smart production featuring a well-worked vocal harmony arrangement it is the business. Every Soul’s A Sailor sees off the album with more beautiful arrangements, and though it is a little mellow, Fearing turn the song into a most enchanting piece of folk balladry.

Author: Maurice Hope

Work for CEF, live in Hexham, Northumberland. Americana, country, folk and bluegrass Journalist since 1988 and currently write for Americana-UK.com, Flyinshoes and live reviews for Northern Echo and Jumpin' Hot Club. Enjoy photography, walking, natural history, travel, reading and writing poetry.

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