The beginning of a beautiful friendship

When Blackie and the Rodeo Kings singer Stephen Fearing talks about having “chemistry you can’t dial up,” or a relationship that was “meant to be,” he isn’t talking about the woman he married last summer.

Stephen Fearing

Stephen Fearing

When Blackie and the Rodeo Kings singer Stephen Fearing talks about having “chemistry you can’t dial up,” or a relationship that was “meant to be,” he isn’t talking about the woman he married last summer.

Fearing uses these terms to describe the 13-year friendship he’s fostered with fellow singer/songwriter Andy White.

White, who he met at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in 1998, lives in Australia, on the other side of the world from Halifax-based Fearing.

But the two musicians both grew up in Ireland and apparently share a similar enough world view that they were able to get together annually to write music, watch Trailer Park Boys episodes and eat copious amounts of toast.

Last year, White tested the waters towards forming a performing partnership by opening for Fearing during his concert tour of Western Canada.

And now, a commitment has been made: The two are officially a duo in all musical senses of the word.

Not only have they recorded their first joint album — called, unsurprisingly, Fearing & White — but they are also performing as a duo when they play on Friday, March 25, at The Elks Lodge in Red Deer.

Fearing isn’t fully able to explain why he clicks so well with White, with whom he shares a website (www.fearingandwhite.com).

“I’ve had roommates that I’ve lived with for years that I don’t see anymore,” he mused. Yet “I don’t see Andy for nine months because he lives in Australia, and yet we can sit down across a piece of blank paper and write songs together. . . .”

He added, “I guess what we have is an actual friendship.”

If I Catch You Crying is one of the songs on their new album that evolved out of that friendship. The two wrote it years ago, after a mutual buddy of their’s broke up with his girlfriend.

While previous versions of the plaintive tune have appeared on albums by Blackie and the Rodeo Kings and a recording by White, this duo version seems slower and more thoughtful.

But then, Fearing & White is full of thoughtful relationship songs — although Fearing believes the songs are really about “being human.”

More original tunes will be in the offing when the songwriter releases two other albums this year.

June is the expected release date for Kings and Queens, the recording of duets Blackie and the Rodeo Kings musicians are doing with 14 female artists, including Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris and Patti Scialfa, Bruce Springsteen’s wife and an E-Street band member.

Fearing said his Blackie colleague, Colin Linden, had developed quite a few contacts with female artists over the years, because of his role as a producer. But Scialfa was a cold call.

Blackie and the Rodeo Kings were lucky to get her on board. “She just liked the idea of the project,” said Fearing, who’s also recording a solo album to be made available to fans who attend his concerts this spring.

The story behind this acoustic CD involves Fearing severing ties with his True North Records.

It was a case of the recording company wanting more and more, while offering less and less, said the singer, who feels the Internet is making it much easier for artists to record and market their own music, anyway.

The new limited-release album will feature Fearing performing songs with just a guitar for accompaniment. Since True North owns the master copies of his past albums, Fearing said he didn’t feel like buying anything from their catalogue to sell at his concerts.

“This came close to going to court . . . and I wanted to make a clean break.”

Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert (doors open at 7 p.m.) are $28, either on-line from www.centralmusicfest.com or at the door.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bloc Québécois MP Sebastien Lemire rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, March 12, 2021. A Bloc Québécois MP has apologized for taking a screen shot of a Liberal MP who inadvertently appeared nude during virtual proceedings in the House of Commons last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bloc Québécois MP apologizes for taking nude photo of Liberal MP William Amos

‘I have no idea how that photo made its way into the media’

FILE - This Sunday, June 25, 2017, file photo shows TK Holdings Inc. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. A driver in South Carolina is the latest person to be killed by an exploding Takata air bag inflator. Honda says that a faulty driver’s air bag blew apart in a crash involving a 2002 Honda Accord in Lancaster County, South Carolina. The company wouldn’t give details of the Jan. 9, 2021, crash near Charlotte, North Carolina, nor would it identify the person who was killed. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
South Carolina driver killed by exploding air bag inflator

Drivers can check to see if their vehicles have been recalled

Hospital staff shift the body of a COVID-19 patient on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance at a specialized COVID-19 hospital in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India, Wednesday, April 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Low on beds, oxygen, India adds global high 314K virus cases

Government rushing oxygen tankers to replenish hospital supplies

A traveler wearing a protective mask, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, walks through the nearly empty JetBlue terminal at Logan Airport in Boston, Friday, May 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Charles Krupa
JetBlue expanding wings with service to Vancouver from New York and Boston

JetBlue will have to compete with Canadian airlines

Green Party MP Elizabeth May arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. An emergency parliamentary debate that was supposed to be a forum for cross-party collaboration on better ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic has devolved into another round of partisan finger-pointing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emergency parliamentary debate on pandemic devolves into partisan finger-pointing

‘Let’s work together instead of playing terrible politics in this debate’

Westerner Park’s Exhibition Hall was used as a vaccination clinic on Wednesday. A steady stream of people came to get their COVID-19 shots either by appointment or as walk-ins. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
No long lineups at walk-in vaccination site in Red Deer

A steady stream of people walked into Westerner Park on Wednesday to… Continue reading

FILE - In this March 19, 2021, file photo, people take pictures of the Olympic rings installed by the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)
Olympic bodies launch competitive series in virtual sports

Olympic body hopes to reach more young people

Linda Tomlinson
Gardening: Leave the lawn until the soil is dry

Spring is arriving, Alberta style with warm days, cold days and snow.… Continue reading

Silent protests were held recently in response to Red Deer Public Schools’ decision to reject a Pride Week in favour of a Diversity Week. Some former employees at Red Deer Public are saying the decision is misguided. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Letter: School board silencing Pride Week concern

While it has been our practice to not comment on matters arising… Continue reading

Anderson scores twice as Canadiens down Oilers 4-3

Anderson scores twice as Canadiens down Oilers 4-3

New York Liberty guard Kia Nurse (5) shoots next to Indiana Fever's Kamiah Smalls during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. Nurse isn't just one of Canada's finest female basketball players, she's becoming a popular voice of the game as well. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Phelan M. Ebenhack
Canadian basketball star Nurse is carving out space in sports broadcasting at just 25

Canadian basketball star Nurse is carving out space in sports broadcasting at just 25

Most Read