“The Weight of Many Winters” by Graeme James: Wading Through the Cold


While always being associated with the holidays and family cheer, winter also has a darker and more symbolic side. Of course, most are familiar with the so-called, “winter blues,” but beyond knowing its memorable name, many have not experienced it or gotten to see the effects it can really have on a person. Visually, the winter brings a darkness with it, which provides a great backdrop upon which to set an emotional story. Keeping this in mind, Graeme James has captured this in both his instrumentation and lyricism with his song, “The Weight of Many Winters.”

Beginning with a lone piano, the song immediately sets the tone and places down a comfortable bed which the acoustic guitar then nestles into. The two instruments acting as one, a lightly plucked stringed instrument then joins the mix, wonderfully accenting every few bars of the song. Although the instrumentation does remain relatively similar throughout the song, there are various instruments and flares added to vary things up just enough to keep everything interesting to the ear. On top of that, towards the end of the song we are treated to a lovely section backed by an orchestral score which ties together the entire track before it comes to a close. The vocal melody throughout the song is strong, ranging from whispers to emotional falsettos depending on the section, and is always complimenting the instrumentation.

In coordination with the instrumentation, the lyrical content of the song paints a beautiful picture of snowy winters and relates them to James’ reflections upon himself. By using this dark, cold imagery, James successfully paints an image which the listener can empathize with. In one section of the song he sings, “Sometimes I feel the weight of many winters / In my bones there was a time when I felt as fresh as morning snowfall.” In another part, he brings the lyrics even closer to the heart by making them more personal, “Oh, God, I don’t know / How my heart got so cold / In the silent snowfall, I need you to hold me close.” By first setting the stage with the song’s beautifully somber instrumentation, the lyrics only further James’ message to the listener.

The song culminates with a lush orchestration which complements the soft acoustic guitar still droning on in the background. Finally, things come to a close as the song softly fades into the distance. Rarely do songs take such wonderful advantage of the emotional impact they can have when combining just the right instrumentation with the right lyrical content and vocal melody. When all of these things are taken into account, it’s a formula for a successful track. In my opinion, this is what has occurred with “The Weight of Many Winters.”


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