Long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ship works for duo

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - THE SOCIAL PAGE - By Jen Zoratti

YOU wouldn’t know it to hear it from their in­ti­mate, af­fect­ing songs, but Fear­ing & White of­ten have half a world be­tween them. Juno-win­ning singer/song­writer and Blackie and the Rodeo Kings mem­ber Stephen Fear­ing is based in Halifax. Ac­claimed singer/song­writer Andy White, who orig­i­nally hails from Belfast, North­ern Ire­land, lives in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia. And yet they’ve been song­writ­ing part­ners for more than a decade. The pair met at the Win­nipeg Folk Fes­ti­val back in 1998 and im­me­di­ately hit it off. “You of­ten meet people very briefly at fes­ti­vals and never see each other again,” White says. “Stephen and I in­stantly de­vel­oped a rap­port.” (Fear­ing has Ir­ish roots, so White says the pair were also bonded by the TV show Top of the Pops and mar­mite.) Af­ter that chance meet­ing, the duo be­gan an in­for­mal se­ries of an­nual co-writ­ing ses­sions at Fear­ing’s home in Guelph, Ont. Even­tu­ally, they de­cided to record an al­bum, 2011’s self-ti­tled ef­fort. “That first record was re­ally the cu­mu­la­tion of a 10-year friend­ship,” Fear­ing says. “We were writ­ing the songs with­out the in­ten­tion of mak­ing an al­bum; we thought we might take them away to our sep­a­rate things. At the end of 10 years, we looked at this pile of ma­te­rial and thought, ‘Let’s make a record.’” Fig­ur­ing there was prob­a­bly a more ef­fi­cient way to write a fol­lowup, Fear­ing & White de­cided to take a more con­cen­trated were go­ing to tour.” (Well, for one, they’re tour­ing with a drum­mer: Kent Macrae. But both song­writ­ers say the record trans­lates well live.) Tea & Con­fi­dences is a dy­namic al­bum, one that brings to­gether the best of both song­writ­ers, but per­haps what’s most strik­ing about it is the spirit of col­lab­o­ra­tion that’s im­printed into each of these songs. Fear­ing and White have that rare, magic Len­nonMcCart­ney bond; it’s what makes their seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble ar­range­ment pos­si­ble. “We bring dif­fer­ent things to each other that we don’t find any­where else,” White says. “I think that’s why it evolves and grows.” “We en­joy each other’s com­pany, but we also feel like the work is good,” Fear­ing says. “We could get to­gether as friends, but to take it to this level and want to get into a van and go through all the hur­dles of or­ga­niz­ing a record, it comes down to be­liev­ing in the work.” “It’s ac­tu­ally Stephen’s smooth­ies,” White dead­pans. “The qual­ity of his smooth­ies is un­par­al­leled.”

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