The Longest Johns - Voyage

2024 studio album

Voyage - The Longest Johns

the bright young folk review

Ship-shape and Bristol fashion; The Longest Johns set sail for their fifth full-length studio album Voyage and delve into a diverse array of original stories and some surprising covers. The release of the album precedes an extensive world tour where they’ll be taking their energetic sea shanties to audiences far and wide throughout 2024.

The band, comprising of Jonathan Darley, Andrew Yates and Robbie Sattin, are best known for the tight vocal harmonies in their a capella sea shanties, and were catapulted into global stardom in 2021 when their cover of Wellerman went viral. Currently boasting over 725,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, over 500,000 subscribers on YouTube and some 200,000 hours watched on Twitch, the trio enjoy possibly the greatest online presence of any folk artist in the English-speaking world.

Their latest offering is by far the most eclectic to date, featuring upbeat numbers with a bluegrass feel such as the opening song The Llandoger and Whiskey Is The Life Of Man, as well as the more sombre songs of White Frontier and One Hundred Feet. The latter refers to the tragic sinking of the HMY Iolaire, which struck a rocky outcrop in 1918 and sunk a mere 30 metres from the shoreline, leading to the deaths of around 200 servicemen who were travelling home from the war.

The album also features the usual suspects of a capella folk songs, with Skadi’s Hammer being the standout of these; an epic, driving tune depicting the coming of winter and the end of harvest in reference to the Norse goddess Skadi. In the same style, the trio effortlessly perform a very bold cover of Proud Mary, which is sure to get crowds singing and boots stomping wherever they go.

It is worth noting that the band have long been known for community projects and engaging with their fanbase, and they have introduced a fantastic feature page on their website containing short stories inspired by the musical world of Voyage; it’s wonderful to see such a famous group engage so intimately with their fans. This gives the album a very three-dimensional feel and is thoroughly unique in this way.

The world of Voyage is rich, varied and highly stylistic without feeling disjointed or incoherent. The Longest Johns are a stalwart of the British folk scene and the execution of a project like this is a perfect indicator as to their talent and musical prowess.

Harvey Coates

Released on CD and digitally February 9 2024 by Jetsam Records. Produced by Paul Worthington and The Longest Johns

1. The Llandoger
2. Whiskey Is The Life Of Man
3. Proud Mary
4. The Leaving Of Liverpool
5. Mutiny
6. Skadi’s Hammer
7. John The Red Nose
8. Greenland Whale Fisheries
9. White Frontier
10. One Hundred Feet
11. Willie Taylor
12. Maggie’s Ship
13. Shawneetown
14. Paddy West

The Longest Johns discography