MULTI-JUNO & CFMA WINNER STEPHEN FEARING
DITCHES DIGITAL WIZARDRY ON VINYL-ONLY COLLABORATION
WITH MUSIC INDUSTRY LEGENDS
BLACKIE AND THE RODEO KINGS CO-FOUNDER
RELEASES 11TH SOLO ALBUM DESIGNED AT EVERY STAGE FOR
THE UNIQUE SENSORY EXPERIENCE OF THE VINYL FORMAT
AUGUST 16, 2018 (VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA) – Stephen Fearing, multi-JUNO and Canadian Folk Music Award-winner and founding member of Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, will release his 11th solo album, The Secret of Climbing, September 10, 2018. The record is a special edition, vinyl-only release that captures the subtle emotions of his mesmerizing voice and masterful guitar work in their purest form, recorded off the floor and unobscured by computers or studio wizardry.
Fearing collaborated on the project with two music industry legends: the album’s co-producer and veteran engineer Roy Gandy, co-founder of UK-based hi-fi manufacturer Rega Research, and renowned International Mastering Engineer Ray Staff, who has worked with an array of iconic artists, from Cab Calloway, Van Morrison, and Cowboy Junkies to Led Zeppelin, The Clash, and The Rolling Stones.
For Gandy, vinyl is king – in the midst of digital overload he believes that’s where the purest sounds are heard. He and Fearing share a passion for authentic music, and that connection sparked an idea for Gandy: invite Fearing to his home studio and see how much music they could capture on his newly re-furbished Studer 8 channel tape recorder, then cut those tracks directly to vinyl with no overdubs, processing, or studio gadgetry in between.
“I’ve spent my career chasing that sweet spot where craft and soul merge,” Fearing said. “With this record I think we achieved that and listeners will experience the intimacy of that stripped-down session. What you hear through your speakers or headphones is as close as you can get to what I played at Roy’s on that chilly winter day in the heart of the English countryside.”
Arriving at Gandy’s home in the midst of a packed international tour, Fearing was road-weary but committed. The studio set-up was simple, just a chair, Fearing’s beloved Manzer acoustic, and two mics — one for vocals, the other for guitar. With only two days available to lay down tracks and see what might happen, Fearing let go and allowed the music to speak, recording a selection of his previously-released tracks and one cover, Tom Waits’ Time.
“[Co-producer] Gary Bennett and I just looked at each other in the booth as we realized something truly magical had happened,” Gandy recalls. “Stephen expressed every word like a poet while simultaneously playing his exquisite arrangements. He created a beautiful aura around the guitar, making it sound like effects were added. Three of the songs we got in first takes, and most of the others were done in two.”
Raw tracks in hand, Gandy was able to lure Staff out of retirement to delicately coax Fearing’s music from analog tape to vinyl. The renowned engineer finished the record in a place of legends – Sir George Martin’s historic AIR Studios in London.
“The approach to the music set the stage for the rest of the album production,” Fearing explains.
“This is like a return to the early days of my career when vinyl was the lead format and cassettes just came with miniaturized versions of the album art. I chose a gatefold cover because I missed the days of lingering over full-size liner notes while the record played.”
Unsurprisingly, as head of the world’s most respected turntable manufacturer, Gandy was particular about who he would trust to press this special release. He chose Germany’s Pallas Group, who have been making records for 70 years. The 180 gram vinyl was crafted to deliver an exceptional platform for signal delivery at a weight that, like the music it holds, will endure for decades.
“While every step of recording and production was designed for vinyl, the album is being released into a mobile-driven world. To accommodate these seemingly competing realities I asked Audio Engineer David Travers-Smith (co-producer of Every Soul’s a Sailor) to develop the digital download for The Secret of Climbing,” Fearing said. “The files were lifted directly from the album’s test pressing and preserve the detail and warmth of analogue as faithfully as possible.”
The album will be available at StephenFearing.com.
1 Johnny’s Lament (4:50)
2 Just In Time To Say Goodbye (5:05)
3 The Things We Did (3:32)
4 Every Soul’s a Sailor (3:57)
5 Time (5:28)
6 When My Baby Calls My Name (3:39)
7 Red Lights In The Rain (4:58)
8 Long Walk To Freedom (3:56)
Album Stream (Media) – SoundCloud
For review or play – FLAC, WAV, and MP3 files available upon request.
Vocals and Guitar: Stephen Fearing
Produced by: Roy Gandy, Gary Bennett, and Stephen Fearing
Recorded to Analog Tape by: Roy Gandy and Gary Bennett at Roy’s Place, Essex
Vinyl Cutting by: Ray Staff at AIR Studios, London
Pressed by: Pallas Group GmbH
Digital Download Mastered by: David Travers-Smith at Found Sound, Toronto
All songs written by Stephen Fearing (Fearing & Loathing Music) except:
Just In Time To Say Goodbye – Stephen Fearing (Fearing & Loathing Music) / Erin Costelo (SOCAN)
The Things We Did – Stephen Fearing (Fearing & Loathing Music) / Tom Allen
Time – Tom Waits (Jalma Music)
Long Walk To Freedom – Stephen Fearing (Fearing & Loathing Music) / Reeny Smith (SOCAN)
ABOUT STEPHEN FEARING
Born in Vancouver and raised in Dublin, Stephen Fearing has been named one of Canada’s finest singer-songwriters. A beguiling teller of tales and a singularly intense instrumentalist, he is an alluring entertainer – heartbreaking, expansive, and full of mirth. His mesmerizing blend of roots, folk, and pop music have earned him multiple JUNO, Canadian Folk Music, and East Coast Music awards and nominations. In 1996 he co-founded Canadian supergroup Blackie and The Rodeo Kings with Colin Linden and Tom Wilson. With nine albums to their credit, the band has become one of the most respected names in North American roots-rock. Fearing also released two albums and toured as one half of the duo Fearing & White with fellow Irish son Andy White. As a solo artist he has cultivated a touring circuit that includes festival stages, concert halls, and clubs across Canada, the UK, and Europe. His 2017 solo release, Every Soul’s a Sailor, earned Fearing Worldwide Album of the Year (Blues & Roots Radio) and Contemporary Singer of the Year (Canadian Folk Music Awards). Over the course of his celebrated career Fearing has collaborated with a long list of artists including: Nick Lowe, Cassandra Wilson, Bruce Cockburn, Sarah McLachlan, Richard Thompson, Rose Cousins, Erin Costelo, Tom Wilson, Colin Linden, Suzie Vinnick, Andy White, and many more.