Stephen Fearing's Between the Hurricanes is solo artists's first album in seven years
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If you were a successful solo artist who started a successful band — and both acts had been touring and collecting awards for decades, which would you consider the side project and which would be the main event?
Stephen Fearing is one of the founding members of Juno- award-winning Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, who have been together now for over 18 years.
But Fearing is also a Juno- winning solo act who has been putting out albums since the late ’80s.
“I started this whole thing as a solo singer song-writer,” said Fearing. “That sort of format or forum is probably the closest to my heart.”
“But I quickly realized, around when Blackie and the Rodeo Kings started, that the art of collaboration is a lot more exciting than an entire career on your own and the rewards are huge in terms of growing as a guitar player as a song-writer, a singer,” he continued.
“Whatever I am doing at the time is the project,” said Fearing. “The others are side projects until I switch. I know it sounds kind of schizophrenic.”
His new album Between Hurricanes will be his first solo album in seven years. His last such album, Yellow Jacket, won the Juno for roots and traditional album of the year.
In the years since Yellow Jacket, Fearing has gone through a lot of life changes.
“I moved to the east coast six years ago, remarried, became a father, left my record label and ended my long, long term relationship, but not my friendship, with my manager,” said Fearing.
The name Between Hurricanes has a literal meaning for Fearing since moving to the East Coast, but there is also symbolic depth to the title.
“The hurricane of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, which is quite a force to be reckoned with when you’re in the eye of it, and the hurricane of divorce and remarriage,” said Fearing. “It is kind of an album about sitting still for 20 minutes and looking around me and going, ‘OK, this is what has happened, this is what is going to happen and I better write it down.’”
Listening to the album, you can tell that Fearing is enjoying revisiting his folk roots. The songs are personal and often quite simple — and that simplicity is being carried over to his upcoming tour.
“Getting into a rental car with a guitar, a suitcase and box of records — you really can’t beat it,” said Fearing. “It just seems so easy after the logistics of tour buses and all that stuff, this just strips it down, which is the point of this record.”
Fearing says whether it’s his solo work, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings or his other, other side project Fearing and White, he won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
“It is kind of like a shark — you must keep moving in this business, it is all about what you did last week, which is a challenge but in a very positive way,” said Fearing. “I decided a long, long time ago that I was going to do this until they hauled me away with a cane.”