Premiere: James Raftery’s New Single ‘Gardener’ Is A Breath Of Summer Sunshine

Out today, James Raftery’s new single, ‘Gardener’, is a breath of fresh air. Taken from his album ‘Tornado’, which is also out today, ‘Gardener’ sees Raftery channel Martin Gore, as he sings and plays piano, along with some synthetic elements. The new album follows on from his 2017 release, ‘Everything’.

The anthemic ‘Gardener’ with its synthesised orchestrations, is laid back and airy; Raftery’s vocals are gorgeous while his piano playing is exquisite. It would be marvellous to hear the piano in isolation; this is certainly one talented artist.

‘Tornado’, Raftery’s latest album, is self-produced, and contains a suite of ballads, which take the listener on a very personal journey. Raftery recorded the record during lockdown in the Covid-19 pandemic, and has clearly taken out all the stops when it comes to revealing himself and his emotions.

“During lock down, I rescued a recording of a set of piano songs I had been working on before Everything, all in various states of completion” says Raftery. “I had forgotten how to play any of it, but I loved them and wanted to finish, so I set to work re-learning, writing and recording them from May 2020-March 2021. I was alone in my studio and had nothing but time and a long winter. It was a refuge and release in the midst of many storms.”

This of course isn’t Raftery’s first rodeo. After briefly working as a horror movie actor, he started releasing music in 1998, under the pseudonym Rat Wakes Red. This was a prolific period, seeing him release 3 long players, 2 EPs, and 3 music videos, as well as opening for the likes of Bob Mould, Hayden, Sloane, and hip-hop trio, Digable Planets.

With ‘Gardener’, Raftery is able to truly convey the sense of plants growing: with eyes closed it’s easy to imagine a music video featuring a time lapse of plants germinating from seeds, and growing to fruition. With so many of us (including myself) discovering a new love for horticulture during the Pandemic, this song is summer-sunshine in music form.

Listen to ‘Gardener’ below:

‘Tornado’, featuring ‘Gardener’, by James Raftery, is out today, and is available on Bandcamp. You can find out more about this wonderful artist and his music online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and his official website.

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email