Multiple JUNO Award-winning Blackie and the
Rodeo Kings member Stephen Fearing returns with
his first solo album in seven years: the highly
anticipated, Between Hurricanes. The follow-up to
2006’s acclaimed Yellowjacket, the album was
co-produced by Fearing and John Whynot (Bruce
Cockburn, Blue Rodeo, Lucinda Williams) at The
Woodshed Studio in Toronto, ON.
Born out of several life-changing events, Between
Hurricanes is both the document and result of many
significant changes for Fearing.
“In 2006, I released Yellowjacket. Though I didn’t know
it at the time, it marked the end of many things and the
beginning of so many more,” says Fearing. “My
marriage of 14 years ended shortly after the record
came out. Hard on the heels of this devastation, True
North Records – my home on record for over a decade
– changed hands. I was still under contract to them,
but it quickly became apparent that it was time for me
to move on. Around the same time, my dear friend and manager Bernie Finkelstein started to make noises about cutting back on his
workload. Bernie and I had been together through thick and thin for over 16 years, but I realized that it was time to let go of the old ties
and step out into the brave new world of true independence.”
In 2008, Fearing moved from his home in Guelph, ON and headed to Halifax, NS. He completed work on both Blackie and The Rodeo
Kings’ Polaris Prize nominated Kings and Queens (which featured duets with 14 iconic female singers including Lucinda Williams,
Emmylou Harris, and Roseanne Cash) and his album with Belfast’s Andy White, Fearing & White. He also got remarried, became a
father, and kept up a relentless touring schedule. Life moved quickly, and before long the release of Yellowjacket seemed like a distant
Luckily, new songs had begun to emerge and plans were finally made to return to the studio.
Hurricanes’ eleven tracks were shaped with the idea of crafting a solo record while not employing a traditional ‘folk music’
approach. Fearing and Whynot put their focus on the fundamentals of the songs while developing subtle atmospheres to surround them.
The minimal arrangements range from the finely honed piano, bass, and drum accents on “As The Crow Flies” to the ethereal synths on
The tale of a Cougar Helicopter crash in Newfoundland, “Cold Dawn” acts as a thesis statement for the record. Told in first-person
narrative, the song’s mood wraps around the story, giving added weight to every repeat of the refrain, “Into the dark.”
The hushed “Fool” follows suit. Against the chirping of crickets, the song floats in sober meditation. No instrument presents itself as the
lead. Passing moments simply fade in and out of each other. The stillness of the track is cut quickly by the shuffling blues of “Keep Your
Mouth Shut,” which arrives with the subtly of a mack truck driving through a wake.
“You stuck around until the lawyer cut the body open / A pound of flesh and then they paint it black,” sings Fearing over blown-out bass
and masterful guitar work. It’s an all-out rave-up and the energetic high point of the record.
“ ‘Keep Your Mouth Shut’ came out of a conversation with Tom Wilson of Blackie & The Rodeo Kings,” says Fearing. “We were talking
about getting together to write some songs for Between
Hurricanes and he said I should listen to ‘Get Out Of Denver’ by Bob Seger. As it
turned out, Tom was so busy organizing the Kings and Queens tour, that I knew he wouldn't be able to pull himself away from the phone.
So, I just wrote it myself. The song is a tongue-in-cheek look at getting out of a sticky situation, ‘Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover’ meets
‘Johnny B Goode.’ ”
Between Hurricanes is Stephen Fearing’s eighth solo album. Over the course of his celebrated career he has collaborated with a long list
of artists that includes: Shawn Colvin, Richard Thompson, Sarah McLachlan, Tom Wilson, Colin Linden, Bruce Cockburn, Andy
White and Margo Timmins. Aside from his own frenetic recording and touring schedule Fearing has been called upon to produce
albums for several other artists, including the 2007 JUNO nominated Happy Here for Suzie Vinnick. 2013 will be a busy year with the
release of more B&RK and Fearing & White recordings in the works.