stephen fearing That's How I Walk (True North) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
On his sixth solo spin, Fearing (Blackie & the Rodeo Kings) comes off like a less smarmy James Taylor; his resonant vocals retain a gritty edge that prevents the pleasant tunes from taking on an artificial, Adult-Contemporary feel. That's How I Walk opens with raw, stripped-down rootsy blues and moves toward gentle, folky ballads balanced by a few swaggering, upbeat acoustic foot-stompers. Multi-instrumentalists like Canuck roots-rock hero Colin Linden and Big Wreck's Ian Thornley complement Fearing's impressive guitar work on the well-written tunes. The album is a cohesive whole, but none of the songs stand out -- it'd make a great soundtrack for a drive through Algonquin Park.