Sea shanty star Nathan Evans tells Rolling Stone the Albany Shantymen inspired worldwide #ShantyTok craze

Campbell WilliamsonAlbany Advertiser
Albany's Shantymen.
Camera IconAlbany's Shantymen. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

The Albany Shantymen helped inspire the viral sea shanty trend that has taken the world by storm.

Last week, the Advertiser published a story about an incredible surge in the Albany Shantymen’s Spotify popularity after they were swept up in the viral “ShantyTok” sensation.

The viral phenomenon started in December after Scottish musician Nathan Evans posted his cover of a sea shanty called Wellerman to the social media app, TikTok.

The post triggered the “ShantyTok” trend, generating a swell of interest around the world that drove the success of the Albany Shantymen’s version of Wellerman on Spotify. Wellerman is a shanty that dates back to the mid-1800s in New Zealand, when it was sung on whaling ships.

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The video that started the viral trend.
Camera IconThe video that started the viral trend. Credit: Nathan Evans (TikTok)

Views of the Albany Shantymen’s rendition of Wellerman have skyrocketed from several thousand to half a million.

But it seems the local lads were more than simply the beneficiaries of a global music phenomenon — they were partly responsible for starting it.

In an article published by iconic music magazine Rolling Stone, musician Nathan Evans credits the Albany Shantymen for inspiring his own wildly popular version of the song.

Evans was featured by Rolling Stone on the back of the sea shanty trend which has landed him a record deal with Universal and more than a million followers on TikTok.

His Wellerman single has reached No.1 on the charts in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.

It is sitting at No.2 on the UK charts.

From Rolling Stone.
Camera IconFrom Rolling Stone.

When asked how he became familiar with Wellerman, Evans told Rolling Stone he came across the name of the song and decided to look it up.

“I went to Spotify and looked up Wellerman and found a couple of versions there, like by the Albany Shantymen,” he told Rolling Stone magazine.

“I learned it in three or four days. I recorded myself singing and then put all the files on my computer and did the harmonies.”

The rest is history.

The upshot is that the Albany Shantymen, led by founder Gary “Grizz” Greenwald, can rightly claim to have played a role in the incredible resurgence of sea shanties worldwide.

And they can now say they have graced the pages of Rolling Stone.

Albany Shantymen founder, Gary Greenwald, helped steer a global phenomena.
Camera IconAlbany Shantymen founder, Gary Greenwald, helped steer a global phenomena. Credit: Laurie Benson

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