Submitted by Stephen Woeller,NpCoWork
NpCoWork is pleased to present Canadian Folk & Roots journeyman, Stephen Fearing, performing a solo acoustic show at the Lion’s Head Rotary Hall on April 6 with local trio Halfway North opening the show. Net proceeds will support improvements at the Lion’s Head Rotary Hall.
Fearing began his tour of Ontario at Hugh’s Room in Toronto last Friday and will make his way around the province over the coming weeks.
I spoke to Stephen by email over the weekend and posed a few questions, like why for instance do his promotional posters feature him standing beside a turntable?
“Last October I put out a vinyl-only release called The Secret of Climbing. It’s on Rega Records from The UK. Rega make turntables and other high-end analog HiFi gear, so we felt that staying away from the CD format was appropriate, I’ll bring copies with me to the show and tell you all about it when I get onstage. That’s why there’s a turntable in my poster.”
What initially brought you to the Northern Bruce Peninsula?
“The first time I drove through the area was to catch the ferry. Over the years I have enjoyed wreck diving at Fathom Five National Park, travelling through, or simply hanging out, to enjoy the beauty of the Northern Peninsula. It’s a magical place I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying in all seasons.”
You played a few shows in Tobermory previously – any memorable moments?
“Many years ago I played shows at The Crowsnest Pub and it always seemed on the late shoulder seasons so it was common to be playing a gig whilst some crazy lake-storm raged outside. It has the effect of putting one right inside a Stan Rogers or Gordon Lightfoot tune.”
What’s happening with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings?
“Blackie and The Rodeo Kings turns 25 next year and we will be celebrating with a new release and extensive touring. It’s hard for all of us to believe a band formed to make one record (High or Hurtin’ – The Songs of Willie P. Bennett) could still be going strong 25 years and 10 albums later, but here we are. I just got back from Nashville where we recorded 17 tracks in 6 days. I think this may be our best collection of songs yet.”
How important is folk & roots music in 2019? Why?
“Well, beauty has always been in the eye of the beholder, but personally, I feel that music has become such an abstract thing (streaming and digital files which people experience through their phones or computers) that the mainstream has long been breaking up into a myriad of smaller currents with some folks embracing more tactile sounds like vinyl records. I hear even Ikea is introducing a turntable this year. We humans are very oriented towards things that we can touch, taste and hold in our hands – phrases like “craft brewed “ or “artisanal” or “wood fired”, are modern re-imaginings of some pretty old concepts. So, as mainstream-pop gravitates more to computer-driven sounds and compositions, roots music wraps itself in the flag of “real people” playing “real” instruments and even the title “roots” refers to getting your hands dirty, the antithesis of shiny, auto-tuned, digital, pop”.
“I was raised on pop, rock and first-wave punk and reggae as well as classical, church, folk and jazz music and as such, I’ve never felt comfortable being characterized as a full-blooded folky. But, I am primarily drawn to music that’s created by live human beings — with electric or acoustic instruments, it doesn’t matter to me, it’s the fact that complicated and flawed humans are the sound source, which creates complex, rich music, with lots of overtones. Nowadays that often seems to signify Roots Music, so that’s an umbrella I walk under.”
Don’t miss Stephen Fearing with Special Guests Halfway North at the Lion’s Head Rotary Hall on April 6 – doors open at 7:30pm. Tickets – $20 in advance or $25 at the door – available online at lionshead.brownpapertickets.com — going fast. All net proceeds will support improvements at the Hall.