Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
|Associated acts||Blackie and the Rodeo Kings|
Stephen Fearing (born 1963) is a Canadian folk singer-songwriter. In addition to his solo career, Fearing was one of the founding members of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings along with Colin Linden and Tom Wilson. He is also a member of the duo Fearing & White with Irish artist Andy White.
Stephen Fearing was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and raised in Dublin, Ireland. He returned to Canada in 1981 via Minneapolis, Minnesota, and began pursuing a career in music. Soon after his return, he released a cassette-only, self-titled album in 1986. He was then signed to Canadian label Aural Tradition. In 1988 he released Out to Sea, which was produced by Steve Darke and Fearing in Vancouver. The album was followed by 1991's Blue Line which was produced in London by Clive Gregson, and features B.J. Cole on pedal steel.
Soon after, Fearing was signed to True North Records. It was also at this time that he began working with manager Bernie Finkelstein. True North re-released Fearing's first two efforts Out to Sea and Blue Line. His first official release for the label was 1994's The Assassin's Apprentice. Produced by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, the album features musical contributions from Sarah McLachlan and Richard Thompson. It was nominated for Best Roots & Traditional Album at the 1995 Juno Awards.
In 1996, Fearing joined forces with Colin Linden and Tom Wilson to form Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Started in order to record a tribute album to the work of Ontario-born songwriter Willie P. Bennett, the band has gone on to write and record original material for a series of critically acclaimed albums.
Fearing returned to his solo career with 1998's Industrial Lullaby. The album features two co-writes with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings bandmate Tom Wilson. It also sees Fearing collaborate with Willie P. Bennett on the track "Coryanna". The album went on to earn a Best Roots & Traditional Album nomination at the 1998 Juno Awards.
In 2000, Fearing released So Many Miles. Recorded by Colin Linden, the album compiles two nights of performances at Toronto's Tranzac and is made up of songs from his catalogue and a cover of Neil Young's "Thrasher", which he had originally recorded for the 1994 album Borrowed Tunes: A Tribute to Neil Young.
For his next album, That's How I Walk, Fearing enlisted the help of Colin Linden as a co-producer. The sessions for the album took place between Toronto and Nashville, and featured the backing band of Gary Craig (drums/percussion), John Dymond (bass), Ben Riley (drums/percussion), and Roberto Occhipinti (upright bass). Richard Bell, Ian Thornley (Big Wreck), Leonard Podolak (Scruj MacDuk), and Shawn Colvin also made guest appearances. The album was mastered by John Whynot. Its cover photo was shot by Margaret Malandruccolo and features art direction from Michael Wrycraft. Considered one of Fearing's definitive works, it was nominated for Best Roots & Traditional Album at the 2003 Juno Awards.
His next album, Yellowjacket, saw him taking on the role of producer for the first time on his own. It also featured Scott Merritt, who engineered and mixed the session. The title track was written with Tom Wilson. The idea was spawned following a drive the shared from Nashville to Ontario while taking Yellow Jacket caffeine pills to stay awake. The album features performances from Dan Whiteley (Heartbreak Hill), Jeff Bird (Cowboy Junkies), backing vocalist Suzie Vinnick, Josh Finlayson, Colin Linden, Gary Craig, John Dymond and Richard Bell. It went on to earn Fearing his first solo Juno Award, taking home the 2007 Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Solo award.
In 2009, Fearing returned with The Man Who Married Music, a best-of collection compiling songs from his back catalogue and featuring two new tracks ("The Big East West" and "No Dress Rehearsal"). Following the release of the album, he left True North Records after 20 years.
Two years later, Fearing returned with Fearing & White, his collaboration with Northern Ireland-born performer Andy White. The eponymously titled album was produced by Scott Merritt at his Guelph studio, The Cottage, and features thirteen songs that were written over the course of the duo's ten-year friendship. While performing at the July 10, 2013 YYC Flood Benefit concert in Calgary, Fearing and White both mentioned that a new Fearing and White album to be called "Tea and Confidences" had been recorded and was expected to be released in early 2014.
Between Hurricanes, Fearing's first solo effort since Yellowjacket, was released January 29, 2013 on LowdenProud Records. The album features 10 songs written or co-written by Fearing with a bonus cover of the Gordon Lightfoot song "Early Morning Rain". The record was coproduced by John Whynot, who has worked with Fearing on numerous Blackie and the Rodeo Kings albums.
Fearing has also produced recordings for other artists, including Suzie Vinnick’s Juno-nominated Happy Here (2008), for which Fearing co-wrote most of the songs.
|1988||Out to Sea|
|1993||The Assassin's Apprentice|
|2000||So Many Miles (Live)|
|2002||That's How I Walk|
|2009||The Man Who Married Music:
The Best of Stephen Fearing
|2011||Fearing and White|
|2002||Stephen Fearing, That's How I Walk (co-produced with Colin Linden)|
|2006||Stephen Fearing, Yellowjacket|
|2008||Suzie Vinnick, Happy Here|
|2011||Eric Angus Whyte, Luddite Sons|
|CAN AC||CAN Country|
|1994||"Expectations"||The Assassin's Apprentice|
|1997||"Anything You Want"||Industrial Lullaby|
|1998||"The Upside Down"||39||78|
|2002||"The Finest Kind"||That's How I Walk|
|2006||"One Flat Tire"||Yellowjacket|
- "Folk singer Stephen Fearing’s Between Hurricanes written in a burst". Metro International, February 13, 2013.
- "He's got nothing to fear". Toronto Sun, December 4, 1997.
- "Fearing's roots entangled with U2". Toronto Sun, September 23, 1997.
- "Stephen Fearing changing his tunes". Winnipeg Sun, January 27, 2007.
- 12th Annual Peterborough Folk Festival official program, August 2001ad
- "Fearing walks on". Toronto Sun, March 16, 2002.
- "Fearing finds calm between the storms". The Chronicle Herald, February 12, 2013.