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Sean Carter - The Telling [Review]

Sean Carter - The Telling [Review]

By Chris Olson on June 11, 2013

If you’re a worship leader or just someone who follows Christian music (especially on the indie side of things), then you may have heard about a song called “Passion Song” this past Easter season. “Passion Song” is the story of Passion Week (the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection), as told from the perspective of John the Apostle. It is one of the more moving and powerful Easter songs I have ever heard, and there were many churches across our nation that incorporated this song into their Easter services in some way. And, this wonderful song also happens to be included on the new album from Sean Carter, The Telling.

The Telling is one of those albums that is not merely a collection of Christian tunes, and it’s not even as clear cut as a prototypical worship album. This album is both those things, but beyond that, it is art. It is storytelling. It is poetry. There are solid lyricists, and there are storytellers and poets. I believe Sean is in the latter group. This album brings us 15 tracks, six of which were written by Sean alone, five written by Sean and a co-writer, and three written by his friend Ryan Flanigan. 

What’s great about this album is that the art is not only in the storytelling, but in the music itself. Independently produced, arranged, mixed and mastered, this is the epitome of what an indie record should be. There are songs with full band rock vibes (like “I Will Sing”) and there are songs that are carried primarily by an acoustic guitar with hand claps as a primary percussion instrument (like “Stuck in a Moment” – and as a side note, the bridge on this song, while quite short, is absolutely gorgeous).

“The Telling,” the title track from the album, is a song inspired by C.S. Lewis’ work The Great Divorce, and is definitely a standout track, lyrically. Phrasing such as “You can’t have color if there is no light, you’ll just find yourself in the black and white” and “Don’t let me be drawn to the love of the telling, but lead me to love of the one I tell” evoke emotion and imagery that really bring this song to life.

“The Distance” carries a personal and reflective vibe, with the lyrics and simple arrangement adding a sense of vulnerability and perhaps even regret. The highlight track for me, however, is “All Glory to You.” This song embarks on a simple journey with acoustic guitar and atmospheric accompaniment, but it all builds to a wonderfully epic crescendo towards the end, exploding with synths and electronic drum runs. My only criticism is that it’s way too short. I love it, my wife loves it, my nine year old son loves it, and my six year old daughter loves it. It’s that cool.

In The Telling, Sean Carter tells a number of stories, and utilizes wonderfully poetic lyrical content, organic sonic textures, and emotive yet genuine vocal performances (some really great falsetto work from Sean, vocally). This is not an album for the sake of making an album. He didn’t have to do this. But rather, an outpouring led to creation, and that creation led to artistry, and that artistry produced what you are now, hopefully, putting in your ears. If you’re not yet, then you’re missing out. Go support this indie artist, and feed your soul at the same time. And be sure to follow him on Twitter (@scartermusic), as he is often involved in cool collectives and projects with other songwriters and artists.

Disclosure: A copy of this album was provided by the record label or artist for review purposes. The iTunes widget above is a part of a third-party affiliate program.

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Chris Olson

Chris Olson

Chris has been involved in worship ministry in some way for over 20 years, ranging from worship team guitarist/bassist/drummer to staff worship pastor. Chris presently serves as one of the worship leaders at Grace Church in Overland Park, KS, and is also a songwriter with a passion to write songs for the local church.  Chris married WAY up when his wife Rachel said “I do,” and they have two awesomely awesome kids, Aedan and Caitlin.