Graeme James Revives Lost Art of Shipwreck Song
“It’s been a while since” anything like “a gripping seafaring-disaster song” has “come along, but to that list we can now add ‘The Voyage of the James Caird’ by New Zealand singer-songwriter Graeme James,” David Browne writes for Rolling Stone magazine.
“As with [Gordon] Lightfoot’s stoic ballad, [‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’] this one – included on James’ newly released The Weight of Many Winters EP – is also based on a real-life incident, [Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition].
“James’ song doesn’t lay out all [the] details, but it doesn’t need to,” Browne writes. “His records tend to be calm and ruminative, recalling the work of fellow modern balladeers like Nathaniel Rateliff and Phoebe Bridgers. But starting with its opening line – ‘I never thought I’d see the black cliffs of south Georgia again/Yet here we are’ – ‘The Voyage of the James Caird’ churns and tosses, just like its story.”
James, who is now based in Europe, is originally from Wellington.
Original article by David Browne, Rolling Stone, January 12, 2021.