The Sound Cafe
Stephen Fearing & The Sentimentals Release Video For 'Sunny' & Are Set To Embark On Tour Of Ontario
Canadian singer-songwriter and co-founder of Blackie and The Rodeo Kings Stephen Fearing has released the music video for his latest single with Denmark's The Sentimentals, Sunny, which is already garnering an overwhelmingly positive response from fans and critics alike. The song is from from his 14th album, Vejpoesi (Danish for 'Road Poems'), released March 24, which offers listeners the rare opportunity to hear solo and band tracks, recorded live-off-the-floor from venues both close to home and half a world away (complete album details below).
Originally released on 2019’s The Unconquerable Past just prior to lockdowns in North America, the album suffered from the ensuing chaos of shutdowns and cancellations.
"Timing is everything and, heartbreakingly, very few people got to hear it before the world ground to a halt in 2020. Since releasing this video several people have asked me to talk about how the song came into being and who Sunny is. On the surface it’s a very simple love story as told by Sunny’s lover, but there is more to it and I’m happy to explain a little about the who, the how, and even the why of this song."
The song started with a simple chord pattern and the name Sunny/Sonny rolling around in my head. As a songwriter I was intrigued by how many times the name has shown up in popular song (Ron Hines’ Sonny’s Dream, Bobby Hebb’s Sunny, and Shawn Colvin‘s Sunny Came Home). On the page the name can be female or male but not 'defined' as either when sung or spoken.
As I began writing I wasn’t sure who this character was nor their gender. I was also struck by how (written) language variously assigns gender to some objects whilst keeping others gender-neutral. One of the hardest things to do when writing a song that starts from almost nothing is to keep yourself open to all possibilities and not close any doors too early in the process. I wanted to keep Sunny’s gender… fluid and, in that decision, the story appeared. It’s a love story about a young transgender person from some small northern Canadian town.
Once I decided Sunny was trans, the story unfolded fairly quickly; the mother who married a hard man (“hard ticket" is a lovely Newfoundland expression for a tough character) and was rural-conservative and rough-hewn, trying to understand her child and wanting desperately to help in spite of her own bewilderment. From there I had to figure out who was telling the story and, since I am a cis-male, I wrote it from that perspective -- the narrator is Sunny’s lover. This world is made of things that are hard to explain and filled with love, that’s what I wanted this song to be.
I send this out with respect and love to the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Beginning April 13th, Fearing and The Sentimentals embark on the Road Poems Tour in Ontario, their first joint tour outside of Europe, featuring songs from Vejpoesi and the repertoire they have been drawing from for the past few years.
Adds Stephen, “I’m really excited for this rare opportunity to introduce my dear friends The Sentimentals to my Canadian audience. Returning to the Canada touring circuit in 2023, I'm keenly aware that I was touring Europe with The Sentimentals in 2020 right before everything shut down under lockdown restrictions. I think of this Road Poems Tour as a continuation of what we started in 2020 and the songs on Vejpoesi are drawn from those shows, featuring (then) newer material from The Unconquerable Past and some fan favourites from my earlier recordings."
ROAD POEMS TOUR
4/13 London, ON - Aeolian Hall
4/14 Hamilton, ON - Bridgeworks
4/15 Morrisburg, ON - St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage
4/16 Kitchener, ON - The Registry Theatre
4/18 Brantford, ON - Sanderson Centre**
4/19 Toronto, ON - Hugh’s Room Live (Paradise Theatre)
4/20 Ottawa, ON - Shenkman Arts Centre
4/21 Burnstown, ON - Neat Coffee Shop
4/22 Newmarket, ON - Newmarket Folk Society (Newmarket Legion)**
4/24 Midland, ON - Midland Cultural Centre**
4/29 Flesherton, ON - Small World Art**
5/1 Sault Ste Marie, ON - Algoma Conservatory of Music**
** Stephen Fearing solo