Sometimes a sea shanty isn’t just a sea shanty. With “The Ship,” the heralded singer/songwriter Ana Egge has taken the traditional shanty and transformed it into a modern-day parable. Soft but still clearly defiant, “The Ship” portrays sailors, fed-up with being robbed of their personal power, realizing they have been complicit in their captain’s greedy, ruinous ways, so they stand together against him and stop participating in burning, to quote the song, “the sides of our own ship.”
StorySound Records will unveil “The Ship” on March 19, 2021on all digital platforms.
A reflection of our times, the single was written during the pandemic by Egge with her friend, Irish troubadour Mick Flannery. “2020 stopped us in our tracks,” Egge explains. “We had more time than ever to consider our priorities and confront the results of our actions, personally and collectively. It is in our hands to put this ship on a new course. We can and we will.”
To Egge and Flannery, the ship is the Earth and the captain represents greed and waste. The song speaks to the need of the sailors (and, in 2021, working people of all types) to do the right thing, not only for themselves and each other but also for the future of their children.
Because both Egge and Flannery are parents to young daughters, the song’s concern for the future and future generations is a very personal one for each of them. The video for “The Ship” further reinforces this theme as director Ingrid Weise has constructed it by utilizing beautiful and haunting imagery of her own daughter in nature.
Egge and Flannery composed “The Ship” in a uniquely COVID-era fashion — via Facetime. During the quarantine, the two friends starting doing nightly songwriting sessions, even though Egge is based in Brooklyn while Flannery lives across the ocean in Ireland. “The Ship” stands as one of the earliest results of this transatlantic collaboration, which they have continued into this year.
“I loved writing this song with Ana, as I have with all our collaborations,” shares Flannery. “I’m proud to have been a part of it.” Egge likewise raved, “co-writing with Mick has been so much fun and such a mind meld. Sometimes it feels like we’re finishing each other’s melodic sentences.”
Egge and Flannery met a few years ago while they both were performing at a music festival in Kansas City. Becoming fans of each other’s music, the two singer-songwriters met up over the years in New York City and New Orleans to do some writing together; however, their collaboration really took off once they began their quarantine project.
Flannery continued this musical partnership by singing with Egge on “The Ship.” Egge co-produced the recording with Stewart Lerman and Dick Connette, who both have won Grammys. Rob Moose, a Grammy-honored multi-instrumentalist/arranger, composed the song’s beautifully haunting string arrangement along with contributing the violin, viola, and octave viola accompaniment. Big Thief’s Buck Meek and Egge each play guitar on the track, which also features Robin MacMillan (Aoife O’Donovan) on drums, Scott Colberg (Calexico) on bass, and Connette on Roland synth.
“The Ship” follows on the heels of Egge’s single “This Time,” a politically charged broadside that StorySound Records put out in January. PopMatters praised how that song transcended “its particular moment, reminding us that change is always within our reach.”