BREAK HIM OPEN: S. Carey Releases Heartbreaking New Album

latest album from E.C.-based singer-songwriter features darker lyrical themes

Parker Reed |

SMELLING THE ROSE PETALS. Sean Carey explores the deep crevasses oh his sorrow on 'Break Me Open,' revealing the emotional turmoil he's experienced during the pandemic. (Submitted photo)
SMELLING THE ROSE PETALS. Sean Carey explores the deep crevasses oh his sorrow on Break Me Open, revealing the emotional turmoil he's experienced during the pandemic. (Submitted photo)

A collection of songs chronicling one of the darkest periods of Sean Carey’s life just hit the shelves.

S, Carey’s fourth album, Break Me Open, is out now, his first full-length release in four years. As illustrated in his glorious new Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, performed from a kitchen island in Eau Claire, this collection of music is Carey’s most communal, collaborative, and candid to date, even while singing and reflecting on a series of intensely intimate experiences. From the pain of his marriage falling apart, to the loss of his father, to the bittersweet pride of his children growing up amidst the uncertainty of life, family, and Mother Earth, Carey defies the darkness through 10 songs about love, fear, fatherhood, and the attempt to know oneself better than the day before. 

Break Me Open is about love – past, present, and future,” Carey said in a media release. “It’s about fatherhood, the overwhelming feeling of deep love for my kids, and the melancholy of watching them grow up right before my eyes. It’s about accepting my faults and wrongdoings, exposing myself, and trying to know myself better than I did the day before. But above the darkness, it’s a message of hope, honesty, and growth. It’s a call to be vulnerable: Break Me Open.” 

For more than a decade, songwriter, producer and multi-talented instrumentalist S. Carey has been an essential part of the Bon Iver community and beyond, contributing to Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell, and writing and producing with Low and others. On Break Me Open he widens his own world up to include more co-writers and collaborators than ever before. Though he can be heard on synthesizers, piano, harmonium, drums, and guitar throughout, additional contributions come from album engineers and co-producers Chris Messina and Zach Hanson, guiding light Brian Joseph, plus strings by Rob Moose, horns by CJ Camerieri (aka CARM), and more from Ben Lester, Jeremy Boettcher, Eli Teplin, Taylor Deupree, and others. 

“Change is good. F---ing hard, but good,” Carey said. “For many, to say the last two years have been difficult would be an understatement. Stress and uncertainty about life in general, family, friends, kids, even Mother Earth has grown exponentially. There is a heaviness to human consciousness right now, a darkness at the surface.”

As documented in videos for “Waking Up” and “Sunshower,” Break Me Open was primarily recorded against breathtaking backdrops in an oftentimes snowy Eau Claire, and a studio in the oceanside forest of Gualala, California. Like all of his previous work, Carey continues to foster his songs through themes of nature, sustainability, and the great outdoors, no matter how internal the source of inspiration may seem. 

S. Carey just wrapped the first leg of Bon Iver shows for 2022, and beginning next week he will bring the music of Break Me Open on a headline tour across the country. 

Break Me Open by S. Carey is available now on all streaming platforms. Find all 20+ dates and tickets – including a tour kick off on April 28 in Eau Claire – at