BY VICTOR TOMICZEK
I was three years out of high school getting right fed up and anxious when I first met Steven Fifield. We had both committed to spending a term educating ourselves in a Swedish university. We didn’t really learn too much Swedish, but I think we did learn a bit about playing, writing and listening to music. At the very least, we learned to drink cheap whiskey straight out the bottle real smooth-like.
Steven is an everyman poet, one whose husky whisper evokes the complicated hardships suffered by supposedly simple people. Sometimes those hardships are overcome, sometimes not. They are characters for the listener, experiences for the author.
His intensity is never lacking. Song intros often turn into ten minute improvisations. Sometimes stories take him for a tell. He has never plodded his way through a performance, so far as I’ve seen.
His guitar playing simple purity: no apologies no false moves. There’s a heavy thumb beating that confession out of you.
So long as “people in their sixties listen to me in my twenties and people in their twenties listen to me in my sixties,” Stevie will be playing. Regardless, he’ll be playing.
He breathes in Cape Breton and exhales its stern reproach and sensitive quiescence. When he leaves, he’s never away too long; this is his home, his history and his future. I won’t ignore my friendship or admiration: Long Live Steven Fifield.
I started recording music with Albert Lionais in 2008, we recorded two or three times a year until 2011. The recordings committed to vinyl made the most sense to me. Albert engineered 95 % of this record the other 5% was done by me using things that I learned from Albert. The ‘A’ side of the album was released digitally in 2011. It was mastered by Jay LaPointe at Archive Mastering. Tracks ‘Marie’ and ‘Texas Holding Cell’ were mixed by Jamie Foulds at Soundpark Studio, the remaining four tracks were mixed by Albert Lionais at Soundpark , owned and operated by Jamie. The ‘B‘ side of the album was released digitally in 2013. The first track ‘Old Dogs Wedding’ was mixed by Albert in Trevor Turnbull’s basement. The next four tracks were mixed onto tape by Charles Austin at Echo Chamber Studio, the last track was mixed by Jamie Foulds at Soundpark. The lacquer masters were cut by Paul Gold at Salt Mastering. The pressings were done by Fernando Baldeon and the team at Amtech/ Duplication.ca. I took the photo on the cover and the graphic layout was done by Ian MacDougall. The female singing on ‘Last Fall’ and ‘Crazy’ is Carolyn Lionais. The Fiddle being played on ‘Last Fall’ is being played by Colin Grant. The Band on the ‘B’ side consists of Joe Waye Jr on pedal steel, Johnny Hawkins on Drums and Eric Burke on upright bass, Joe Waye Jr also plays an acoustic guitar solo on the track ‘Crazy’. My hope is that you listen to this album every few years while cooking or washing the dishes.