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In an age of accessible digital recording and ubiquitous home studios, the polish and professional sound typically associated with major label releases has infested even the most underground of genres, and the garages of yore have been transformed into a thousand miniature hit factories. The fallout from this development is that where once it was possible for music to subsist merely on professionalism and money, the widespread availability of professional techniques have leveled the playing field. But the more poignant and disturbing trend that has resulted from this new era has been the disappearance of innovation and individuality. The ability and impetus for bands to merge together in listening "blocs" is more powerful than ever, even as iTunes and similar technologies are opening up a broad new horizon of the musical spectrum to listeners. The result: poetry, meaning, passion, individuality, and desperation give way to technique and accomplishment.
Now, more than ever, music needs to be unprofessional.
A well-produced studio record, a full band, and pro talent can add a great deal to a record, but they can just as easily mask the failings and mediocrity in a record's songwriting. With only an acoustic guitar and your voice, with the ornamentation stripped away and nothing to hide your flaws, you are on the edge of an abyss. It is this deep vulnerability that truly reveals the quality of a performance, and music stands or falls as the eras come and go based on this metric.
Ben Watson's music is unpolished and unembellished. He stands between the audience and defeat with only a guitar and his distinctive voice. It is only through the ethereal, otherworldly power of inspiration (the true measure of a song's depth) and the cleverly crafted lyrical explorations of philosophy, relationships, religion, and fear that he can hope to triumph. In this wasteland on the edge of progress, on the edge of society, he calls out to you: "Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand!"