Stephen Fearing packed up his belongings earlier this summer in Halifax, N.S., put them into a 20-foot U-Haul and traded East Coast for West Coast.
“I actually drove the family car across the country,” said the Juno award winning artist, with a laugh. “I got to do some playing as well but mostly I drove.”
Fearing, who is no stranger to flying back and forth across the country for work, relished in the chance to literally drive coast to coast.
The journey reminded him of what a vast country Canada is.
After the drive, Fearing, his wife and their 10-year-old daughter planted roots in Victoria by buying a 1911 character home complete with shuttered windows.
“It’s a big, old beautiful house… But it needs some bringing back to make it a family home,” he said.
Fearing, born in Vancouver before moving to Ireland and then returning back to Vancouver after finishing school, said the move to the Island was sparked by a number of things. Mostly because of all of the family the couple has in the province.
His enthusiasm about the area was hard to contain when asked what he likes about it. “Where do you want me to start?”
He loves how a local butcher, cafe, and fresh vegetable market are just steps from his front door. “It’s something you take for granted until you live somewhere like Nova Scotia.
“I think it’s going to be a good move for us all around,” he said. “There’s a lot more work out here.”
Fearing said a shift in the music industry has really pushed artists to be self-motivated and do a lot of self-promoting, which Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands really allow an artist to do. He is especially excited about the number of venues the area has.
“I’m very much looking forward to plugging into more local work out here.” He cherishes the opportunity to preform at so many different venues and still be home that same night with his family.
One of Fearing’s first gigs in the area is the Highlands Fling on Sept. 13 at the Caleb Pike Homestead, 1589 Millstream Rd, from noon till 5 p.m.
“It’s something I haven’t done before so it’ll be a challenge.” But Fearing is revved up about that challenge and likes to try to captivate and surprise new audiences with his music. “When it’s you, your guitar, and your song those three elements have to be really strong.”
Fearing doesn’t like to categorize his work but credits some of his influences to everything from blues to country to folk.
“It’s roots music… If I say I’m a folk artist then I have to be a folk artist.”
He credits his bandmates from Blackie and the Rodeo Kings for opening him up to different influences and helping him sound believable when delving into different genres.
For the Fling, he plans on playing some originals, some songs he’s written for other artists, and maybe even a cover or two.
“I love performing, that was my start, songwriting came later,” he said. “Somewhere between being an artist and an entertainer is where I want to be.”
After performing at the Highlands Fling and several shows in Ontario, Fearing hopes to spend a few weeks working on more house renovations so the family can finally move into their new home.