Stephen Fearing – What a concert on the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage

MORRISBURG – “Don’t leave words unspoken/Choose the door that opens..Movin’ on…”

Stephen Fearing, who performed at the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, April 15, at Upper Canada Playhouse, is clearly an artist who leaves no musical doors unopened.

In an exuberant and exciting concert, his songs ranged from the folk/blues overtones of ‘Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes’ to the ‘50s style rock n’ roll fun of ‘Christine (my Rodeo Queen).’

In what he describes as his “Road Poems Tour” Fearing, backed up by the incredible Danish musicians, the Sentimentals, thrilled the audience with songs exploring themes from accepting those who do not fit conventional attitudes, to the passage of time and life’s journeys. His energy is amazing. His vocal range is astounding. The musical stage is very clearly his home.

“I love this job. I am very privileged,” he told the audience. He is an entertainer, who delights in telling stories. He had the crowd laughing when he explained that, in fact, he was “one Sentimental short’ at the SLAS concert. Nikolaj Wolf had been called to do a “would you believe, Danish musical,” and Fearing brought in an old friend and very talented artist from Ontario, John Diamond, at the last minute. “ I did think maybe we should have scheduled at least one rehearsal,” he remarked, tongue in cheek.

The remaining Sentimentals, (with Diamond) were phenomenal. M.C.Hansen is a brilliant guitarist, who shared stirring musical and vocal duets with Fearing throughout the evening. Jacob Chano is a powerful, exciting drummer. The audience regularly broke into delighted applause when their talents were showcased during the concert.

This performance drew the listeners in. The songs we enjoyed throughout the evening reflected a wide range of musical styles and approaches.

Stephen Fearing is a poet, whose lyrical, often wistful, images stay with you. He spoke of the song that came to him, as he was wandering alone in the woods of BC: “Every soul’s a sailor, rolling on the deep…Born into creation/Drawn towards the light/With blind imagination we go swimming in the night.”

For his father, he wrote ‘These Golden Days,’ a musical poem exploring getting older, but never giving up on love. “Love is a silver thread/ Woven through these gold days…” In an earlier Leader interview, Fearing explained that even when he stands all alone on a stage, with just his acoustic guitar, his music and songs must tell stories and find ways to connect with people’s souls.

Yet Stephen Fearing also has wit, and a sometimes slightly raucous sense of humour. He shared anecdotes and often amusing tales about his life as a wandering minstrel. Partly raised in Ireland (the inspiration for his final, ovation song, “Fare Thee Well”), he has been in Canada since 1981, releasing many albums since then, and garnering many major musical awards. His roots/rock combo, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, has just completed a major tour.

This show introduced the audience to an original artist and to original music they will not forget. “At times you can’t see what’s up ahead/ But you make your choice and you make your bed…”

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