Collaboration a wonderful key to growing creatively

Stephen Fearing and Andy White set to perform Feb. 5th in Red Deer

VIRTUOSITY – Stephen Fearing and Andy White bring tunes from their latest collaboration Tea and Confidences to the Elks Lodge in Red Deer on Feb. 5th.

VIRTUOSITY – Stephen Fearing and Andy White bring tunes from their latest collaboration Tea and Confidences to the Elks Lodge in Red Deer on Feb. 5th.

Two outstanding musicians who have joined creative forces are making a City stop next month.

Canadian singer/songwriter Stephen Fearing met Belfast troubadour Andy White backstage at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in 1998 and the two began yearly co-writing sessions at Fearing’s home in Guelph. Local audiences will be able to hear what they’ve been up to during a concert at the Elks Lodge on Feb. 5th.

Presented by the Central Music Festival Society, the show begins at 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, back in the early days, the guys would play a few shows and spend the rest of their time trading lyrics, melodies, harmonies, and arrangement ideas, crafting a body of songs that was different from either of their solo work. After a decade of these sessions, they recorded their 2011 debut, Fearing & White.

“It’s a pretty special thing, and we both acknowledge that,” explains Fearing during a recent interview of how well he and White complement each other.

For their follow-up, Tea and Confidences (LowdenProud Records), released last year, White and Fearing decided to take a different approach. With Fearing having relocated to Nova Scotia, and White living in Melbourne, Australia, it was clearly going to require planning. The new CD started with a session on New Year’s in Halifax.

They reconvened later that summer and wrote the bulk of the album in a four-day sprint of inspiration between two west-coast festival weekends in Vancouver and Salt Spring Island.

Six months later, they booked into The Cottage studio in Guelph, with drummer/percussionist Gary Craig and guests Jeff Bird on harmonica and Ray Farrugia on drums.

All told, it proved to be a relatively quick process.

“I don’t think the pressure is a bad thing,” said Fearing of the tight production timelines. “It’s just the way it works – but what’s hard is when you are in a pressure situation with real unknowns, like working with someone you didn’t know.”

At this point in their lives, both men have such a remarkable ability to create music that it’s not an overly stressful experience. “When I’m feeling particularly dry or devoid of any creative ideas, I just sit still, relax and don’t worry about it. It will come,” says Fearing. “If you are trying to call down an idea, or generate an idea, it’s much less likely that they are going to come. But even if they don’t, don’t sweat it. That comes with experience. But songwriting is equal parts a mystery and a craft.”

And even though they are strong artists in their own rights, blending those talents is pretty much a seamless process. “In general, we’ll have a pretty good idea of what the song should sound like and how it should go. Andy’s a great bass player; a great rhythm player and he plays a little bit of keyboard. I’m really interested in trying to find different electric guitar textures to bring to the table.

“So we try and do as much of it ourselves as we can – partly because it’s fun and partly because it’s sort of the way we’ve defined it so far,” he says. “The main difference between this record and the first record is drums – we really felt that the material would benefit from having a drummer.”

Originally from Belfast, White has been honoured with many of Ireland’s most prestigious songwriting awards. He is an author and songwriter who has collaborated with Peter Gabriel, Sinead O’Connor and Neil and Tim Finn.

Fearing is a multiple Juno Award-winner who has become a hero of the international roots and folk scene through his solo performances, as well as his work with Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.

Born in Vancouver, Fearing spent most of his growing up years in Dublin. After a stint in the U.S. he returned to Canada, and is now long-established as a fixture on the folk and festival circuit in North America and the U.K.

Music was an intrinsic part of the Fearing household from the get-go.

“Music is in my DNA – it has always fascinated me. Everything else just sort of fell away, and I just realized this is what I’m doing.

“As a kid I remember going with my mom to recitals where she was either onstage or in the audience. I also clearly remember sitting beside my father on the organ bench during church services.”

Not surprisingly, his career – thanks to his musical giftedness – unfolded naturally. And as a young adult, he became increasingly familiar with the singer/songwriter, coffee house folk world.

It’s certainly been a fulfilling path to walk. The joys he derives from his craft certainly outweigh any challenges and the less attractive parts of the job.

“It’s not the easiest way I know of to make a living,” he says. “But really it’s about playing music – I love being onstage. There’s always something – it’s very rare that everything lines up for a given show – but even so, the magic of being onstage and playing music for a living is a real privilege.”

For ticket information, check out www.centralmusicfest.com.

editor@reddeerexpress.com

 

 

 

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

File Photo
Blackfalds RCMP seeking suspects in traffic collision

RCMP are asking the public for help identifing two suspects wanted for multiple offences

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday 12, 2020.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

Most Read