Well, I don’t know what I was expecting…..but I wasn’t expecting this!
I only knew Stephen as a founding member of the amazing Blackie & The Rodeo Kings; quite probably Canada’s finest Country Rock (?) band; so when the sweet rolling Country sounds of Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is filled the office just before Christmas I was astonished straight-away. Fearing’s distinctive voice is…..is…..warm, weather beaten, slightly nasally and expressive in a way not heard around these parts for a mighty long time.
The song, with it’s lovely chorus and awesome guitar interludes is so cool it made it difficult for me to listen to the rest of the album as I kept going back to it.
This left me with a huge dilemma…..could the rest of the songs live up to this compelling opening track?
Yes…is the short and definitive answer.
Red Lights in the Rain follows and takes us on a very emotional and sad journey that is full of poetic lines like ‘nothing says I’m hungry like a baby’ and ‘no one says I’m lonely like a train.’ Plus, Stephen’s soft guitar picking will send shivers down your spine.
Fearing takes a bit of a left turn on The Things We Did, which somehow sounds a bit Western Swing and a bit Country Blues and is more than a bit of a toe-tapper too.
Every Soul’s a Sailor is an album that begs to be ‘listened to’ which may seem an odd thing to say; but Stephen Fearing’s lyrics and the way he delivers them demands your full attention and not just be in the background. Carousel sounds not unlike something from James Taylor and if you listen on headphones you will get the full benefit of a craftsman at his very best.
Gone But Not Forgotten is in a similar vein; ‘easy listening,’ yet still edgy and lyrically clever….if that makes sense.
The title Better Than Good, intrigued me as it’s something I’m prone to say when describing something and the song itself certainly is Better Than Good as Stephen describes his feelings for the lady in his life.
As usual I played the album a couple of times before reading the Press Release and gave myself a smug 10/10 for getting the background to the rocking Blowhard Nation bang on the nail! I won’t give too much away but the song was written and recorded in the middle of the 2016 US Election campaign and….well….give it a listen.
10 songs here and not a bad one among them, which is some achievement but after 20 years or more as a singer-songwriter and band member perhaps that’s no surprise, it certainly won’t be for his legions of fans in North America, which brings me to my ‘favourite track’ here.
Obviously it should/could have been the opener Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, but now two weeks after receiving the album I’m going for…..the beautiful title track Every Soul’s a Sailor which closes the disc. I can’t even describe why; but it just touches me in many different ways….which is a good thing.
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