From the recording Hell or High Water

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Hell or High Water is a song about the most famous shipwreck in history, but it doesn’t dwell on chaos, destruction, and loss (like the many other Titanic-inspired songs). Instead, it tells of the RMS Carpathia: the small steamship whose captain, crew, and passengers joined forces to overcome weather, ocean, and odds to rescue all survivors. The words are based (with permission!) off of a wonderful re-telling of the story written by Tumblr writer MyLordShesACactus that always makes songwriter Esther Wheaton tear up - you can read the original post here.
Part stirring sea shanty, part lyrical old-time ballad, the music and arrangement reflect the lyrics; each band member relays part of the story solo until a powerful final chorus is sung in unison. With references to Blind Willie Johnson’s God Moved on the Water, Gillian Welch’s Ruination Day, and Gordon Lightfoot’s Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Hell or High Water blends its folk touchstones into something new and compelling.
Onion Honey recorded this single in March with Andy Magoffin at his House of Miracles in Cambridge, Ontario.


It was April 1912, in the middle of the night
The unsinkable ship, an unthinkable sight
She shot off her flares and broadcast SOS
Telling hundreds of miles of her great distress

The Californian sat empty a few leagues away
Her sailors and captain would render no aid
Fifty-eight miles further the Carpathia heard
The crew woke their captain to give him the word

Come hell or high water, when Titanic failed
God moved on the ocean, but Carpathia sailed

Captain Arthur H. Rostron sprang from his rest
Called all hands on deck and their heading turned west
He ordered his ship to race to respond
Before checking the signal or his uniform on

They hung lights, nets, and ladders, swung out the life rafts
Turned dining into first aid, with all doctors on staff
And hundreds of passengers got up out of bed
And offered their staterooms and blankets and bread

Come hell or high water, to curse or to bless
Couldn't live with themselves if they did any less

Now a steam ship can only go fast as they build it
And fourteen knots was Carpathia's limit
But Rostron diverted all steam to the engine
All hands to the furnace to stoke and defend it

Steam engines explode when they're pushed to their peak
And the chances they'd get there in time nearly bleak
But the head engineer had mastered his craft
And they blew past fourteen to seventeen and a half

Come hell or high water, they ran and they prayed
and they made them a miracle on Ruination Day

Through the fog and the dark they sailed rescue-bound
Dodging icebergs like the one brought the Titanic down
Nearly broke the laws of physics steaming headlong through the spray
Firing rockets as she came to say help was on the way

It was four hours or more to get to the scene
Rostron and his crew, they made it in three
Disaster and ruin without any doubt
But every life saved on Carpathia’s account

Come hell or high water, and by any means free
Pulled seven hundred souls from the icy north sea