Singer-songwriters Stephen Fearing and Andy White perform in Red Deer on Feb. 5 at the Elks Lodge.

Songs from the isles

Dublin-raised Stephen Fearing and Belfast-born Andy White met up on Salt Spring Island to share tea, confidences — and their love of Marc Bolan.

Dublin-raised Stephen Fearing and Belfast-born Andy White met up on Salt Spring Island to share tea, confidences — and their love of Marc Bolan.

The two singer/songwriters, who now reside, respectively, in Halifax and Australia when they aren’t touring together as the Fearing and White duo, co-wrote an album of original songs during that creative stint off Vancouver Island.

It resulted in their 2014 album Tea and Confidences.

And Bolan? The late singer from the glam-rock group T. Rex influenced such Fearing and White tunes as We Came Together.

“We have that British Isles influence in common —a love of T. Rex and a lot of those Top of the Pops, BBC-TV British pop bands,” said Fearing of his musical partner, White.

Even though the duo that performs on Thursday, Feb. 5, at the Elks Lodge in Red Deer only writes music and tours about once a year, the musicians’ shared Irish experience means “it’s never like we’re starting from scratch,” said Fearing.

The two met at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in 1998 and have been making music together since.

The duo has so far produced two albums with a different sound than the musicians’ separate, solo material, as well as the roots-Americana-type music Fearing creates as a member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.

Perhaps Fearing and White’s joint affinity for “magical, mystical or intellectual” lyrics, as seen in songs by Bolan or David Bowie, “or maybe it’s that me and Andy are both singer/songwriting storytellers,” said Fearing.

Whatever their shared sensibilities, Fearing knows their joint output is somehow different than a lot of other North American music.

And the speed of their co-writing is rather remarkable.

Fearing said the 11 songs on Tea and Confidences came out of two short bursts of writing of four or five days each, and then six or seven days spent in the studio.

“Andy’s funny because he’s cautious. He thinks we should play down the short period of time it took for us to write the songs. He doesn’t want people to think they were slapped together, whereas I think they’re well crafted, and the spontaneity of how they came together is part of the story,” Fearing added.

Fearing and White are already discussing their next co-writing project — although another record from the duo will probably have to wait until after the next solo Fearing album (planned for mid-2016) and another Black and the Rodeo Kings effort, expected out by the end of this year.

The Blackie record will be more duets, following the highly successful Kings and Queens. “I can’t say anything more. I don’t want to let anything out of the bag,” said Fearing.

His life was recently sent into more of a spin by a decision to move with his wife and daughter to Victoria, B.C., this summer from Halifax to be closer to relatives. (Fearing’s family lives in the B.C. interior and his wife’s parents, who are Newfoundlanders, spend their winters on milder Vancouver Island.)

With his heavy touring schedule and his wife, playwright/ comedian/filmmaker Christine Tiny Taylor’s masters degree humanities studies, raising a daughter closer to family supports seems sensible, said Fearing. “We’d also like her to know her grandparents better.”

While he’ll miss the East Coast and Nova Scotians, he also felt it was time to move to a more populated region, closer to Calgary, where he spends a lot of time working.

In Nova Scotia, he said, “I’m spending more time getting on planes than getting in my car . …”

Tickets to the 8 p.m. show at 6315 Horn St. are $28 in advance from centralmusicfest.com, or $35 at the door. The concert is presented by the Central Music Festival Society.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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