Al Lewis “Fifteen Years”

Independent, 2024

Coping with grief brings hope through song to Welsh singer.

Dealing with grief is, of course, a highly personal one – how we each cope with the loss of a loved one can be challenging  and difficult – but can also be therapeutic and positive. For Welsh singer-songwriter Lewis lockdown gave him the chance to properly grieve the loss fifteen years previously of his father.

Lewis has had an award-winning career to date – working solo as well as collaborating with Sarah Howells, with US artist Alva Leigh as Lewis & Leigh and with Bristol based electronic soundscaper Kalya Painter as Glasyn.

Some years back, having never properly dealt with his fathers passing and knowing he had suffered from Multiple Sclerosis, he was filming a TV special performing to some MS sufferers and he was asked on camera about his dad – and he simply couldn’t –  just breaking down involuntarily.

This spurred Lewis on to spend his precious days in lockdown re-connecting with his father through the process of sorting out all of his possessions. “It was bittersweet”, Lewis says. “But it helped me sketch the man. I felt like I knew him better afterwards”. Lewis also has a podcast ‘Feels Like Healing’ that deals with channelling loss into the creative world.

So this album really does come from the heart and all the tracks resonate with passionate and emotional feelings. We’re in Martyn Joseph territory here – gentle acoustic tunes as befits the albums creative core. Album highlights include ‘Never Be Forgotten’ with some rousing fiddle work complementing the acoustic vibe about the memory one carries about those we have lost; there’s the gorgeous ‘Fatherly Guidance’ with its impactful drumbeat and a celebration of passing down shared wisdom; the haunting piano ballad ‘Fifteen Years’ which builds to a powerful end; and ‘Thirty Five’ with lyrics coming from his father’s voice that brings an incredibly powerful feel as he shares his life challenges, with harmonies from Darling West’s Mari Sandvaer Kreken and Tor Egil Kreken..

This is a lovely album – incredibly personal, but all the more effective for it. There’s not much light and shade here – but we do have ten passionate and cathartic songs which move and inspire in equal measures.


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