Take5: December 2010 Archives

Stephen Fearing

Posted by Glenn Meisner

It has been 20 years since songsmith Stephen Fearing released his self-titled debut. Over the following two decades, he has built up a very loyal and committed international audience.

Born in 1963 in Vancouver, he spent most of his boyhood and teenage years in Dublin. There, he picked up the guitar and traces of the Irish and English musical traditions that have informed his music ever since. After a short stint in the U.S. Midwest, he returned to Canada, and is now long-established as a regular and popular fixture on the folk club and festival circuit in North America and the U.K. Successful appearances at the prestigious WOMAD and Reading Festivals in the U.K. confirmed Fearing's ability to engage large audiences with his onstage charm. He has received a West Coast Music Award and five Juno Award nominations as a solo artist.


Like most contemporary songwriter/performers, Stephen is not bound by any particular musical genre or category and the release of his latest recording,Yellowjacket, continues this exploration of various musical forms, as does his continued participation in the highly successful Canadian roots rock super trio, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings. Over the past decade, B&RK have released three highly praised and award-winning albums including a Juno Award for their most recent release "BARK". "It's wonderful to be able to work as a solo artist and to be active in such a powerful ensemble as The Rodeo Kings. These guys are my friends and there is no doubt in my mind that my continuing work with them influences my solo playing very deeply". With two more Blackie records on the near-horizon plus an ongoing collaboration with Irish singer/songwriter Andy White, Stephen has never been more prolific. In his own words, "Yellowjacket feels like a new beginning."

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Meaghan Smith

Posted by Glenn Meisner

Singer-songwriter Meaghan Smith was born and raised in London, Ontario, to musician parents, who would introduce her to with a wide array of new and old musical styles. Self-taught on the piano by age 9, despite having a piano-teaching mother, at 19 she picked up her first guitar while pursuing a career in animation in Halifax. Caught by stage fright, the young songstress finally decided to tackle her fears and began performing, catching the ear of a studio engineer who encouraged her to record her material. In 2008, she released a first 4-track EP, The Cricket's Quartet, which she promoted by touring as opening act for k.d. lang. In 2009, her debut album The Cricket's Orchestra, featuring Montréal-based turntablist Kid Koala, was released on Sire Records.

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Laura Merrimen

Posted by Glenn Meisner

Laura Merrimen is a young woman with an old soul who wears her Americana drenched heart on her sleeve. Keeping true to her roots she infuses a blend of rock and roll know how with an old-timey country and pairs it with catchy melodies and smoky sometimes haunting bluesy vocals. Some have compared Merrimen to a female Bob Dylan or Neil Young, others to Lucinda Williams and Neko Case, but you can't put your finger on it, the sound is uniquely her own. She is a prolific writer who delivers soulful thought provoking lyrics that are steeped in honesty and raw emotion.

Laura's debut album 'Love Letters For Lonely Hunters', engineered and produced by Brad Conrad, was nominated for two 2010 Nova Scotia Music Awards and won country recording of the year .

Currently she is preparing to head into the studio to record her sophomore album for the second time in Dartmouth N.S., this time around with Brian Murray. "Must be something in the water over there...Dartmouth just makes good records" says Merrimen with a wry smile. In the mean time, she has just released an independent music video online shot by Ronok Sarkar of her song 'Another Line' in support of the debut album.

Live performance highlights include opening for Elliot Brood, Deep Dark Woods, Cuff the Duke, Matthew Barber, and Michael Bolton at the Metro Center.

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