For multiple JUNO Award winner Stephen Fearing, a cross-country relocation – from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia – kicked off a period of reflection that inspired the songs which became Every Soul’s A Sailor, his ninth solo record.
While they span a range of musical styles from folk to pop to boot-stomping roots, the tracks share a common focus – the value of The Journey; the various paths we take in love, life, and even after-love, and the after-life.
From the late-night introspection and driving beat of ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’, asking listeners to reflect on how life’s energies were spent, to the haunting and ethereal ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’, featuring guest harmonies by Rose Cousins, the record gave Fearing the opportunity to blend his musical realms.
“I have travelled consistently between the two poles of solo and ensemble work. With this album I wanted to see if I could bring those two worlds together in the studio and then out on the road,” he explains.
This sonic blend created an ideal environment for Fearing’s first (in a long time) straight-up protest song, ‘Blowhard Nation’. As a spectator of Donald Trump’s con-man campaign of hate and fear, it came from a place of humour and sarcastic outrage and ended up a Merle Haggard-inspired roots rock anthem that leaves you wanting to two-step straight to your local tavern.
“Once the songs were written, I asked master drummer Gary Craig to help me shape them into what you are listening to. We chopped down the intros, added a chorus here, a half verse there, and generally aimed to ensure that even the slower tempos had trajectory and momentum.”
Together with Craig and bassist John Dymond, both of whom Fearing has worked with extensively over the past 20 years on solo projects and as the rhythm section for Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, they created a lush, propulsive sound that draws in the listener with an almost hypnotic, effect.
The album also gave Fearing a chance to work with David Travers-Smith at the console (listen too for his poignant horns on ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’). “Over the years we’ve worked together now and again, but it was always in my mind to make a record with him co-producing and engineering. David is passionately meticulous and these songs were shaped and polished by him.”
Stephen Fearing is a founding member of the Canadian super-group Blackie and The Rodeo Kings. Over the course of his celebrated career he has collaborated with a long list of artists including: Nick Lowe, Shawn Colvin, Richard Thompson, Pam Tillis, Bruce Cockburn, Sarah McLachlan, Tom Wilson, Colin Linden, Margo Timmins, and many more.