Shea wrote and recorded one song for each of the 136 chapters of Moby-Dick. He posted one song per week to his blog, Call Me Ishmael. The blog unfolded from 2008-2011, and Shea continued his work with the project for another year with live performances of the songs both with a band and on his own.


Shea compiled a book of all song lyrics from the project, as well as reflections on the work of writing for the project.

"Patrick Shea’s songs are deeply insightful responses to Melville’s masterpiece. They illuminate the power of Moby-Dick and enrich our experience of that remarkable novel. Shea understands that, at its heart, Moby-Dick is an orchestral work. Its chords resonate throughout Shea’s lyrics." --Bill Kelly, President of the CUNY Graduate Center

"Patrick Shea’s highly imaginative, wide-ranging song cycle takes us chapter-by-chapter through Moby-Dick.   Shea’s innovative, haunting lyrics share the fecundity and suggestiveness of Melville’s dazzling novel." --David Reynolds, Distinguished Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center

"There is music in Moby-Dick because Melville put it there.  But there is another kind of music that comes from readers who, once they have read Moby-Dick, simply have to sing.  Lucky, then, that we have Patrick Shea whose clever, amusing, stirring, happy, sad songs do not attempt to retell Melville's classic story but give added musicality and life to Melville's thought."      --John Bryant, Editor of the Melville Society and Professor of English at Hofstra University

Festivals and Residency:

  • "Sea Stories Weekend;" Mystic Seaport, Summer 2009
  • "Call Me Melville;" three separate performances over three days, including a performance at Arrowhead (Herman Melville's home at the time of writing Moby-Dick); Pittsfield, MA; Summer 2012
  • Residency at NYC venue Pianos; March 2012