After more than a decade of slogging it out, night after night, on the busy, vibrant and competitive George Street bar scene in the heart of St. John’s Newfoundland, singer/songwriter Justin Fancy, from nearby Conception Bay South, has introduced himself to the country music world as a solo artist of some reckoning – one who has something to say.
Fancy, who has truly honed his craft, carving out a reputation of being able to sing pretty much any song, in any genre, while paying his considerable dues on the St. John’s scene, has released his first two singles – Long Time Comin’ and Think About You.
Both are the first installments of at least eight original songs which Fancy hopes to release as part of a full album later in 2020, bolding solidifying his foray onto the Canadian country music landscape.
It is fitting that Long Time Comin’, which was released as the first single in February 2020, is a compelling, and openly autobiographical song, which speaks of his career thus far, his passion and dedication to his craft and his love of country music. The song’s deeply authentic and heartfelt lyrics are enmeshed with an upbeat, hook-laden musical composition that illustrates Fancy’s unique ability to convey emotion and entertain at the same time – a rare and precious gift as a songwriter.
“I already had a lot of material that I had accumulated over the years, but one day this song just came out of me. I wanted to finally release my own album and tell my story. Long Time Comin’ is really that introduction, and me talking about my journey in the music industry so far. I am saying, ‘hey, I have been doing this for a long time and am now ready to spread my wings,’” he said of the song, which has already been picked up by more than 30 country radio stations nationwide.
The video for Long Time Comin’ is as simple and homespun as it is charming and delightful, thanks to the loveable freestyle dancing of Fancy’s young daughter, Kayleigh.
“We must have shot her dancing about 45 times and at one point we had to play something more to her liking because she was sick of hearing Long Time Comin’. We shot it over and over and over again and one time when it was Kayleigh’s part she said, ‘dad, I’m sick of that song. I don’t want to dance anymore,’ and started getting sulky. So, I told the videographer to put on some Justin Bieber and she perked right up and that’s the version you see in the final video,” Fancy said.
In contrast to the more upbeat Long Time Comin’, Fancy’s second single, Think About You, is almost its tonal and sonic opposite. A modern-day, more mature version of the classic ‘hurtin’ song’ format, it demonstrates the range of his songwriting skills, as he can convey the complexity of human emotion not only through his songwriting but also through his emotive vocal performance.
“It’s after a breakup and you are thinking about someone and she is thinking about you. There’s a bit of hurt in it, there’s a bit of sombre sadness in it, there’s a bit of happiness to know that she’s doing okay. I didn’t want that sappy sort of breakup song where people are heartbroken or angry or whatever. It’s saying, ‘okay, yep, we’re still thinking about each other, but we’re stable and moving on.’ It’s not like I am up in my room crying every night,” he said, adding that he believes he had to mature as a person and as an artist to be able to write that sort of ‘grown-up’ interpretation of a relationship coming to a bittersweet end.
The video for Think About You features scenes of Fancy contemplating his lost relationship while walking the back roads of his hometown. These are interspersed with imagines of a woman, going about her morning routine, with a similarly contemplative air.
The actress portraying Fancy’s lost love is long-time friend and former Big Brother contestant (2019/Season 7), Samantha Picco.
The two singles, as well as the songs from his forthcoming album were produced by fellow Newfoundlander Clint Curtis, who is a veteran musician in his own right, but quickly developing a reputation for being able to deliver world-class, Nashville-quality production values right on The Rock.
As a youngster, Fancy was attracted to the sincerity and storytelling ability of legendary country artists such as Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. As he learned to play guitar and write his own songs as a teenager, he latched onto the artists at the forefront of the country and western scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s such as Alan Jackson, Vince Gill and Travis Tritt. The songs he writes today bring in all of those influences together with his own take on today’s country sound.
Long Time Comin’ and Think About You are exceptional examples of how different styles and eras of country music – in the right hands, can be made into something fresh, melodically pleasing and attuned to modern music fans’ sensibilities.