Album Review :
Sean Lea - The Pen and the Poet

By in Reviews | Comments closed

Artist: Sean Lea

Album: The Pen and the Poet

Label: None

Release Date: September 17, 2010

Reviewer: Eric Pettersson


  1. Burnt Out
  2. Letters
  3. The Pen and the Poet
  4. Lunch with Ace
  5. Relentless
  6. How Life Should Be
  7. Ship Shape
  8. Fragile Lungs
  9. Bulldozer
  10. Jonah
  11. Whole Again

Sean Lea is an independent singer/songwriter offering catchy, thoughtful tunes that speak of living passionately, loving others and finding God in unexpected places. Musically, lyrically, and vocally, he is a perfect cross between Josh Wilson and Bryce Avary (The Rocket Summer) with a hint of Jason Mraz. The album begins with “Burnt Out,” an upbeat track asking God to breathe life into the busyness and emptiness of modern life. Next comes “Letters,” which sings of being on the road and missing the girl he loves back in Texas. “Lunch with Ace” is a softer acoustic song about meeting a homeless man and later regretting not doing more to help. He asks, “If You had my heart, where was my head?” As the album continues, most of the songs are upbeat, some electric-based and some acoustic, but most feature the full band until we get to the slower, stripped down acoustic songs. The electric guitars in the background get jazzy from time to time, with smooth solos and finger picking fun. “Fragile Lungs” is another song about God giving life to the full, featuring a female harmony on the mellow chorus. “Bulldozer” is a fun song about the consuming love of God filling a broken life, featuring the line, “God where was I when we nailed you to the tree? You broke your arms spreading them wide enough to save a wretch like me.” Of course the careful Bible student may object that Jesus fulfilled prophecy by not having any bones broken, but if we allow Sean Lea the creative license, I say it’s a nice poetic image. While there are a few cheesy points, in general this kind of cleverness sets his lyrics apart from other CCM singer/songwriters, making him of greater interest to our readers and worth keeping an eye on in the future.

Overall: Sean Lea brings an upbeat pop-rock sound with subtle notes of jazz and several acoustic tracks, and the production on The Pen and the Poet is so good I had to triple-check to make sure he really is unsigned (seriously, Sparrow, what are you waiting for?). His songwriting is impressive, and his lyrics really hit home with where the Church in America is at today. He focuses on waking up to really live, loving the world around us and growing in an intimate relationship with our Savior and Creator. Combined with Josh Wilson, Sean Lea gives us jaded indie rockers a reason to give CCM a second look.