THE UNCONQUERABLE PAST
The King of Canadiacana Surpasses Himself.
As many of you will already know; I’m a huge fan of Stephen Fearing, but baring in mind he’s a Multi Juno winner and a major part of one of the world’s greatest Rock & Roll bands Blackie and the Rodeo Kings he still manages to fly under the radar.
Why would that be, when you hear opening track on this, his 13th solo album; Break Your Mother’s Heart? In theory it’s simple ‘Rock n Roll’ song about leaving home to pursue a musical career; but this particular song is oh so much more deep and indeed meaningful. The relatively simple construction belies a stunning story that will touch most of our hearts as Fearing’s voice occasionally wobbles in a way that sounds like he’s fighting back the tears.
Phew …….. what a start!
It would be oh so easy for a songwriter of Stephen Fearing’s ‘age’ to follow a succesful formula and keep churning ’em out; plenty others do it; but our Canadian friend constantly seeks to learn from others and challenge his own excellent talents.
I’m pleased to hear a few Rockers in among the intimate musings; with Stay With Me sounding like a wonderful marriage between The Band and Tom Petty, while Christine is pure Sun era Rockabilly that will even have Peg-Leg Pete on the dancefloor!
I’m not sure what I like best; a songwriter using their own experiences to tell a story or when they delve deep into the pits of their imaginations; and sometimes as I suspect with the majestic Sunny the two merge with grace. Stephen virtually whispers this story of a Transgender boy/girl leaving home, only to find love with a heterosexual man. Heartbreaking and powerful in equal measures.
Both Someone Else’s Shoes and the exquisite title track The Unconquerable Past are another two fragile songs that ask more questions than they can ever dare to answer; and more often than not it takes a poet or songwriter to ask these questions; and Stephen Fearing is both.
Perhaps it’s an age thing though; but for me Fearing’s most memorable works are his intimate musings; the ones that go straight to your heart like a stiletto knife ………. Emigrant Song is a co-write with Andy White and muses on Fearing’s young life moving from Canada to Ireland and back again; but this brooding Celtic tune will cause many of us to reflect on our own heritage; and that of the thousands that are making terrifying trips to make better lives for their families.
This is immediatly followed by Fearing alone with his acoustic guitar on the heartbreaking No Country, which deals more directly with the state of the world many people find themselves in as 2019 bleeds into 2020.
For my Favourite Song I’m going to contradict my life long stance against swearing, as Marie is such a ‘song of our times’ perhaps only words such as these can spell out the anger many of us on the Liberal Left feel.
If the opening verse doesn’t reel you in like a big fat fish, then you are listening to the wrong singer and reading the wrong website:
“She said, brave yourself for the shit show coming down tomorrow
Cos I feel it’s going to look a whole lot different to today.”
Is this about Brexit? Trump in the White House? Trudeau’s student ‘high jinx’?
Who knows? But this a song that audiences will sit through in sheer silence then take the roof off at the end.
The Press Release suggests that Stephen is now dabbling in ‘Americana’. PISH!
This, just like his previous albums is …….. pure Canadiacana! These songs and the imagery they conjure up could only be Canadian …… they are all cool, intelligent, descriptive and indeed, articulate …… which is what I expect from my Canadian artists and in particular Stephen Fearing, and yet again he delivers on every single aspect.
Released 15th November 2019 (Downloads and streaming)
Released 15th December (CD’s & Vinyl ……… just in time for Santa to deliver!)