Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Although expat Kiwi singer-songwriter Graeme James is billed as “modern folk” he in fact sometimes sounds much closer to very old traditions with mandolin, ukulele and violin alongside guitar on his sometimes chirpy melodies and story-telling songs.
Way Up High here for example sounds like one of those songs from Woody/Dustbowl days with its refrain "trouble will not find me way up high" and a swirling violin hoedown/revivalist tent-show mood.
The modern aspect comes in with the arrangements, production (the echo applied to the title track here) and deploying beatbox and loops. And on atmospheric pieces like Western Lakes.
He also plays jaunty Celtic fiddle on the catchy, handclap of To Be Found By Love.
So he's a little bit classic and a little bit contemporary, which would certainly account for his international popularity (he moved to Europe in 2018 and just spent three months touring in the US in advance New Zealand dates, see below).
He's clocked up in excess of 20 million streams and his previous album News From Nowhere was a finalist in the folk category at the 2017 New Zealand music awards..
There's an uplifting quality about many of his songs (the embellished Here and Now with “strings”) but equally he can dip into intimacy (the up-close Reverie with chiming guitar which recalls Shawn Phillips) and writes a catchy song with a message (The Difference)
And goes out with By and By which again harks back to older times and sounds like it is recorded off a 78rpm record.
Soemthing old, something new, something borrowed and something for you.
GRAEME JAMES – THE LONG WAY HOME NEW ZEALAND TOUR
April 24th- Nirvara Lounge, HAMILTON
April 25th – Acacia Bay Community Hall, TAUPO
April 26th- Roc Retreat, WAITOMO
May 2nd- The Globe, PALMERSTON NORTH
May 3rd- Common Room, HASTINGS
May 4th- San Fran, WELLINGTON
May 10th- 4th Wall Theatre, NEW PLYMOUTH
May 11th- Folk, TAURANGA
May 16th- Le Cafe, PICTON
May 17th- The Boathouse, NELSON
May 18th- Blue Smoke, CHRISTCHURCH
May 24th- Gin & Raspberry, WANAKA
May 25th- Sherwood, QUEENSTOWN
June 6th- The Tuning Fork, AUCKLAND