New Album Released 12 January 2024
Exploring Themes Of Loss, Grief and Healing
Official Video For ‘In My Daughters Eyes’ Out Now
TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED FOR FEBRUARY 2024
Award-winning Welsh singer-songwriter Al Lewis has shared the official video for single “In My Daughters Eyes”, out now. The track is taken from his forthcoming LP Fifteen Years, an album that has literally been 15 years in the making. Through Lewis’s own experience of finally beginning to come to terms with the loss of his father, he examines the universal themes of grief, healing and finding a place in the world, hoping to help others in similar situations.
The charming video for “In My Daughters Eyes” was shot by Sam Rhys James on location in various parts of Cardiff and features Al’s daughters.
Watch here: https://youtu.be/goo-dqy37wc
Speaking about the song Lewis said: “My youngest daughter has this dimple on her cheek… I looked at some photographs of my dad and saw that he had dimples, and realised that he will live on, not only through me but through my children.”
Listen here: https://on.soundcloud.com/L5HwK
You are the dimple on my smiling cheek
You are the accent when I start to speak
You are the house that you helped me to buy
You are the glint in my daughters eyes
Lewis has announced UK tour dates for February 2024:
Thurs 1st FEB – Prohibition Sound, Liverpool
Fri 2nd FEB – Blue Sky Cafe, Bangor
Sat 3rd FEB – Mwldan Theatre, Cardigan
Weds 7th FEB – Kitchen Garden Café, Birmingham
Thurs 8th FEB – The Kings Arms (Salford), Manchester,
Fri 9th FEB – Cafe #9, Sheffield
Sat 10th FEB – Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli
Weds 14th FEB – Folklore Rooms, Brighton
Thurs 15th FEB – St Pancras Old Church, London
Fri 16th FEB – Ty Pawb, Wrexham
During lockdown, Lewis finally decided to sort through all of his Dad’s old possessions, which he’d packed away in the attic of his father’s bungalow after his death, and which had remained there, untouched, for 15 years.
Among the dusty, discarded boxes he found treasures from his Dad’s past; paperwork relating to his parents’ divorce and how his Dad struggled with his illness; relics that sketched out the dreams his Dad pursued in the years after his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, offering glimpses of an inner life Lewis had never known. “It was bittersweet,” Lewis says. “But it helped me sketch in the man. I felt like I knew him better afterwards.”
Shortly afterwards, while idly strumming on his guitar, the song that would become “Fifteen Years” came tumbling out of Lewis. It was his first attempt at making sense of the grief he’d been running from for a decade-and-a-half, at reasoning with the loss that had directed his life for so long. Further songs followed, cleaving to that theme, fleshing out the concept, exploring questions that had come to Lewis unbidden since he’d become a father himself.
He explains: “I’d just become a Dad myself, and I was ruminating on the cyclical nature of life, and how the man I saw in the mirror now looked more like my Dad than I ever had.”
The songs that compose the album Fifteen Years speak clearly and from the heart. Lewis draws upon the substance of his loss, the wisdom yielded by the passage of time, and the comfort he’s drawn from his own family and from finally grappling with his grief.
Across these songs, Lewis initiates conversations with the father he lost too young, searching for the answers that elude him, and “seeking advice from the ghost of you”, as he sings in “Where Do I Go From Here”.
He imagines the mindset of his newly divorced Dad as he started his life over again; he recognises the elements of his father he sees in himself, and in the children who never got to meet their grandfather.
Singing with a voice rich and emotive, composed of chord changes and melodies that are resonant, aching but always climbing towards resolution and uplift, the result is Lewis’s most personal, most powerful album yet.
It was the death of his father that set a 21-year-old Al Lewis on the path to becoming a singer-songwriter. “It was a pivotal moment,” Lewis remembers. “I realised then that life was short, that you don’t know what’s coming around the corner, so you should grab for your dream.”
Lewis grabbed hold of that dream with both hands, with absolutely no intention of letting go. He’s become an artist of remarkable tenderness, insight and melodic invention, his work winning both critical acclaim and commercial success.
His collaborations with Welsh singer-songwriter Sarah Howells, US artist Alva Leigh (as Lewis & Leigh) and Bristolian electronic soundscaper Kayla Painter (as GLASLYN), meanwhile, are evidence of a musician unwilling to be hemmed in by genre. Born and raised in Pwllheli, Lewis writes and sings in both English and Welsh; his 2013 homage to Dylan Thomas, ‘A Child’s Christmas In Wales’, was the first Welsh-language track to be play-listed on BBC Radio 2.
But such achievements have never been Lewis’s sole motivation. He pursued life as a singer-songwriter because music was something he loved, something that brought him uncomplicated joy. Music also served as a means of expressing himself – he better understood who he was, the complexities of his personality, the reasons for his actions. For Lewis, songwriting became a cathartic exercise.
Nevertheless, it would be years before he could bring himself to put the great loss of his life into song. Indeed, it took Lewis a decade-and-a-half to even begin processing it. When his father died, Lewis had been a young man, without the emotional toolset to make sense of the feelings that were overwhelming him.
Few of his friends had experience of bereavement, or any idea of how to help Lewis. He didn’t come from the sort of background where people spoke about their feelings with ease. “With men especially, it’s always that thing of your friends asking, ‘You alright, mate?’, and you replying, ‘Yeah, I’m fine, cheers’, and then no-one feels they need to dig any deeper,” he says.
But Lewis wasn’t fine. He finally realised as much several years back, filming a television special for S4C where he was to perform for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers in North Wales. “The presenter asked me to speak on camera about my Dad, who had suffered from MS, and I couldn’t do it,” remembers Lewis. “I’d try and talk, but I kept breaking down. I realised there must be something going on here, if I can’t even talk about him.”
Once again, Lewis has found in songwriting the catharsis he needed. “I’m in a better place with my grief now,” he says, of the process that began with clearing his Dad’s possessions from the attic, and resulted in this remarkable cycle of songs.
But his reasons for releasing the album, for sharing these songs, go deeper than simply making peace with his loss. “Releasing an album like this, I want to reach anyone who finds themselves in the same place I did, navigating unthinkable loss and trying to ride out the experience of grief,” he continues. “I’d hope anyone out there going through something similar might listen to these songs and realise that they’re not alone in this journey.”
Lewis also hosts a very successful podcast ‘Feels Like Healing’ that deals with channelling loss into the creative world.
Fifteen Years track listing:
1. Sunshine in Sorrow
2. Never Be Forgotten
3. In My Daughters Eyes
4. Where Do I Go From Here
5. Fatherly Guidance
6. Thirty Five
7. Fifteen Years
8. The Farmhouse
9. Feels like Healing
10. Beginning to Find You
Pre-order Fifteen Years here: https://allewis.bandcamp.com/album/fifteen-years