After recording two cassettes with the Fearing-Hunter-Wake Band and self-releasing one cassette-only album entitled Stephen Fearing, Fearing recorded and released Out to Sea in 1988 for Vancouver's Aural Tradition label. One of his best and most consistent albums to date, it was also the album that broke him out of the local Vancouver folk scene. The songs were written over a period of six or seven years in the 1980s, so by the time of their recording on Out to Sea, they had been polished to perfection. The music is very creative throughout, incorporating tasteful percussion, saxophone, and even traditional Gaelic pipes and tin whistles on "Dublin Bay." "Carsten" is a haunting showcase for his already formidable acoustic guitar skills, as is "The James Medley." The closing track, "Beguiling Eyes," is a highlight of the album, as Fearing incorporates part of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" into an aching story of unrequited love. An exciting singer/songwriter guitarist release, and one of the finest of that genre.
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AllMusic Review by Rob Caldwell