Here at RUST Magazine we have been receiving some truly amazing albums recently in the singer-songwriter space and it’s become evident that there is a real movement happening – right now. Xander Smith has not only defined himself, but has redefined a regional sound with his album Outside, Matt Turk’s yet-to-be-released Cold Revival is simply radiant, and now with the release of Sean Watkins’ All I Do Is Lie, all we can say is that it is, without a doubt, a new and special age in modern music.
Xander, Matt, Sean and others like Owen Campbell and Luke Elliot are all crafting beautiful personal music with intensity and passion, and though people have been working in this style of music continually, having so many albums that are so good come out right at the same time is unique and special. There are more artists doing better work every day, and they have technologies and support communities that are empowering them to take their music into truly new and deeply personal places.
All I Do Is Lie is an album that stands as equal to the best rememberances from the golden age of FM. There is a relevance to everything Sean Watkins says and plays. His technical skill has earned him a place in the company of people like Jackson Browne, Lyle Lovett, Dolly Parton and Hank Williams Jr. and it’s his humanity that really shines through here. He’s awarded. He’s experienced. And the long trails of life that have led him to today have worn and weathered his soul. It’s the sum of all these elements that is the collage of emotions presented in All I Do Is Lie.
Touching, inspiring and full of regret, thoughts flicker and dance like lights contrasted against the dark in his songs. Issues of family, faith and longing prevail and are poignantly punctuated by his gorgeous instrumental style. All I Do Is Lie is an album that stops time. This is partly because it could be an album from many years ago. There are no contemporary hallmarks or distractions to cue you to when it was made. It stands alone, captivates you, and draws you further and further in. It’s also an album that will be just as relevant (if not more so) many years from now because it’s so personal and unique.
What makes music – or any art – special is that magical combination of technical skill and individuality where one person can make a statement that is special because it says something about both being human and being a human. If an artist can communicate something about themselves, and something shared, to another person using these intermediary musical tools, that’s the highest aspiration an artist can acheive. We all feel. We all think. When someone can capture the emotion of these things and put them into a form for another to appreciate, that’s art.
So we commend Sean Watkins on his abilities, his beauty and his humanity. All I Do Is Lie is a touching, vibrant and complex album that comes from a very deep place. What we learn from listening to it is that this deep place is both individual and shared. It exposes the true, undeniable, inescapable and inexplicable nature of us. We discover things about ourselves through music, and it’s the resulting growth that has value, significance and relevance. It’s why we value the arts. They enrich us and empower us on our journey to enlightenment.
All I Do Is Lie is not just one of the best albums we’ve heard recently, it’s an album that has significance and relevance on a permanent scale. It’s a superbly crafted collection of songs that defines the singer-songwriter for our modern age, and gives us perspective, wisdom and inspiration for today and tomorrow.