Music Review – Ken Stead

Artist: Ken Stead
Album: Fear Has No Place Here

Folk and country inspired rock music has been playing more on the radio. Which is great, in my opinion, since I find that when pop music that gets overplayed it tends to sound the same after a while. So it is with great pleasure that I listened to Ken Stead’s first full-length album, Fear Has No Place Here.

Born and raised in Edmonton, singer/songwriter Ken Stead first listened to rap and metal music, but was drawn to folk music because of his mother. “’My mom made me go to the Edmonton Folk Festival one year as a punishment. It was a brilliant piece of parenting. I don’t even remember what I was being punished for. She was also sick of all the rap music I was listening to so she said, ’I’ve got these tickets and you’re going to come with me and my middle-aged friends’ and we ended up having a grand old time. It was fantastic’” (http://www.kenstead.net/bio). A performance by Eric Bibb and the discovery of Foy Vance’s music inspired Ken to explore folk music, and the result is music that I could listen to every day, over and over again. His sound is similar to that of Mumford and Sons and X Ambassadors but Ken was also able to harness his own sound, setting himself apart from other musicians.

Although every track on this album is wonderful, the title track “Fear Has No Place Here” and “Another Way” are my two favourites.

“Fear Has No Place Here” begins with a beautiful guitar solo that immediately draws the listener’s attention, and the music is soothing but inspiring at the same time. The message is very personal, and Ken mentions in his bio that “’My stepdaughter had terrible social anxiety ? and I do too sometimes ? and she was paralyzed by it. We used to sit in her room and repeat this mantra that fear has no place here until she was able to take on her day. I sent her the track and she loves it. So it’s a sweet thing, but I wanted it to be about more than social anxiety because I think ’fear has no place here’ has a lot of different applications in people’s lives’” (http://www.kenstead.net/bio). I absolutely love how heartfelt, inspiring, and emotional the song is, and that it is about overcoming anxiety and fear. This song is so encouraging and hopeful that I absolutely loved it after listening to it for the first time.

“Another Way” has a bit of a lighter tempo, but the overall message and tone of the song is similar to “Fear Has No Place Here”. But there is just something about this track that sticks with me, and I find myself recalling the lyrics when confronted with a particularly difficult concept in my studies or whenever I get that urge to just quit and give up on something. I have listened to this song many times since I was first introduced to the album; I was first drawn to it because of the upbeat rhythm. But the more that I’ve listened to it, the more that its message has found its way into my heart. I hope that it is equally as inspiring for another listener.

I highly recommend checking out Ken Stead’s Fear Has No Place Here. It is great to listen to while studying, relaxing, hanging out with friends, or at any time that you find yourself needing a few words of encouragement.

Samantha Stevens is an aspiring writer who loves combining her love for literature with photography, painting, music, and all creative pursuits.

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