Sean Devine

REVIEW: Sean Devine releases stripped-down EP “Pencil and Paper”


Sean Devine — Pencil and Paper

There are some songwriters whose albums are so personal and honest that when you hear their latest work it’s like catching up with an old friend. Sean Devine’s intimate new EP Pencil and Paper has that feel the moment he strikes the first chord on the opening track, “How Can I Love You This Time?” Like all six songs, it’s just Sean and his custom acoustic strumming in Paradise Valley, Montana, pouring out his soul, not holding back. 

Sean is reflective, self-aware and unafraid to tell it like it is, be it his family dynamics, his marriage (“Making Love”), or hypocrisy of evangelicals banning abortion rights. The sincerity is refreshing, and the songs – despite touching on divisive topics – don’t get preachy. Sean’s a storyteller, and these songs don’t stray from narratives. There are no soap boxes. In “You Live in This World, Too” Sean makes each verse a chapter in the life of an unfortunate soul having to make a tough choice. Is it political? It’s life. The people in Sean’s story – whether it’s him or a fictional character in a modern-day parable – are fully realized and humanized. 

For those unfamiliar with Sean Devine, Pencil and Paper is a great way to be introduced. You get to know the thoughtful Livingston troubadour pretty well, and even get a feel for his hometown through “Halfway to Hell (Exit 333),” where he plays with a local expression about the windy town and shares his own impressions. It’s clear the winters can be long there, but Sean doesn’t forget to be grateful for the beauty and serenity that surrounds him. That’s a testament to Sean’s character, which is also reflected on his country gospel track “The Bluebird of Love.”

One thing I love about Pencil and Paper is how it perfectly captures a solo acoustic show – although, I must admit it’s not quite as good because it doesn’t include his banter between songs. However, there’s nothing a studio EP can do about that, really, except inspire you to go see him live, which I strongly recommend.

Highlights – “How Can I Love You This Time?”, “You Live In This World, Too,” “Halfway to Hell (Exit 333)”

Musicians – Sean Devine (acoustic guitar, vocals)

Find more information and tour dates at

Enjoy our previous coverage here: Interview: Sean Devine Embraces Life’s Challenges in “Here For It All

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