Today, internationally acclaimed folk artist and multi-instrumentalist Graeme James releases his new album, 'Seasons'. This together with a gorgeous music video for the track 'All the Lives We Ever Lived'. Here, he gently layers percussion into mandolin, then piano, then cello to evoke the natural rhythm of changing seasons.
With 'Seasons', James contemplates the cycles of life and the human condition, as measured by nature’s own time clock. These are not idle musings about mundane situations. Though he might use tiny brushstrokes to define minute details, James paints panoramas, not postcards. Starting with spring, it cycles through to winter via 12 songs of intimacy and delicate beauty. He even “revives the lost art of the shipwreck song” with 'The Voyage Of The James Caird', which Rolling Stone featured as a “Song You Need To Know”, adding, “James’ records tend to be calm and ruminative, recalling the work of fellow modern balladeers like Nathaniel Rateliff (during his unplugged moments) and Phoebe Bridgers.”
James plays a dizzying array of instruments on 'Seasons', just as he did on his Nettwerk debut, 2019’s 'The Long Way Home', and his earlier independent efforts. He’s been a one-man-band since he started his career as a busker in his native New Zealand, and still uses his trusty loop pedal to create his own mini-orchestra when he performs live.
He also produces his recordings, which allows him to sandwich together as many layers of violin, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, double bass, banjo, baritone ukulele, viola, cello, harmonica, accordion, and percussion as he wants. For 'Seasons', he did request piano, horn, percussion, and vocal contributions from friends.
James even creates his own cover art, drawn in a distinctive pen-and-ink style partly inspired by vintage children’s books and linocut printing.
Listen here to Graeme James' 'Seasons'