Art’s Sick. It’s as simple as that. And it was always as simple as those two words, inspired by a conversation blues-rock musician G.E. Smith once had with his friend, the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. It’s a phrase that has continued to stick in his head, and something he put into song on his latest album, a collaborative effort with soul artist LeRoy Bell, Stony Hill.
Inspired by art and its place, currently, the 11-track Stony Hill addresses the difficulty for artists during more turbulent times with narratives exploring America’s democracy, political divisions, the constant state of uncertainty (and hope), the opioid epidemic and other other socio-political issues.
Originally recorded in 2019, the tracks still resonate with what is happening in the country at the moment in soul-fused tracks like “Under These Skies,” “Let The Sunshine In,” and the aptly named “America,” all written by Bell.
Of “Art’s Sick,” Smith’s wife Taylor Barton says the song says everything there is to say about art, artists, and their place in our world. “For G.E. to write ‘Art’s Sick,” and our daughter to debut with her clever video, it takes two connoisseurs of the fine arts to inspire those out there,” says Barton. “Art is Truth. Let’s get it right.”
Smith says he enjoyed working with his daughter on the animated video. “Watch for Leonardo Da Vinci throwing money in the museum,” he says.
The blues-induced track moves in its artsy, gritty groove, while invoking a touch of old-school, NYC punk charm. “Art’s Sick” pays homage to everyone from Vincent Van Gogh, the lifespan of art, and the dying… of art. The song speaks to all its abstract, obscure, and multi-faceted elements.
“Art has always been sick,” says Smith. “I suppose that’s why we love it.”