Stephen Fearing - So Many Miles

So Many Miles

Stephen Fearing RHR149

Red House Records
P.O. Box 4044
St. Paul, MN 55104

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Moshe Benarroch

After his last very successful solo album Industrial Lullaby, Fearing delivers an even better live cd that will probably surpass most of the releases of this year. This is a 70 minute, guitar and vocal only release, but, with Fearing's potent voice and playing, it sounds like a storm.

Fearing stands somewhere between Bruce Cockburn and Richard Thompson (the one with the acoustic guitar), and sometimes has been labeled as a celtic-folk singer. The lyrics are the personal-philosophical kind, and show a strong feeling of experience. In the first song, Blind Indifference, about parallel lives that never meet, first recorded in 1997's Industrial Lullaby, Fearing sings:

Oh mercy, won't you come and shine your love on me
Take this blind indifference and make me see
All the good around me, all the friends that keep me clean
Human beings were never meant to be so mean

Fearing has lived through life's cruelty, taken the welfare check and gone through a divorce. These difficulties can be heard all over his songs and with his effective voice, he converts them into acts of compassion and art.

On Dog On A Chain, a very intimate and scary version here, we hear:

My poor secret shadow
How long has it been
Obscured in the dark by the shade?
You were born right behind me
Like a dog on a chain
Watching all the mistakes I have made

All the songs in this cd were written by Fearing, except the last song Thrasher which is a Neil Young song. It is one of the best covers I have heard of a Young song, seeming all new, and Fearing makes it his own. The cd is produced by another very classy Canadian songwriter, Colin Linden, and the results are great. All of Fearing's lyrics and music come out of the speakers effectively.

I have now heard three of Fearing's cds, The Assassin's Apprentice, Industrial Lullaby and the present one. I think that this Canadian should be rated amongst the top singer-songwriters of his country performing in the English language. Of all these recordings, I believe this one is his most effective and best. One of the best cds of the year. 70 minutes of pure joy and great music!

Track List:

  • Blind Indifference
  • Toronto/Vancouver-NY/LA
  • The Longest Road
  • Wailing Wall
  • Expectations
  • Dog On A Chain/James Medley
  • So Many Miles Away
  • Anything You Want
  • When My Baby Calls My Name
  • Glory Train
  • The Bells Of Morning
  • Know Your Audience
  • The Lark/Roberts' Waterloo
  • Tryin' Times
  • Thrasher (Neil Young)

Edited by: Jonathan Colcord

Copyright 2000, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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