Honeydogs frontman Adam Levy has been a visionary when it comes to melodic rock or alt. country with smart lyrical wordplay.
But tragedy can change everything, and three years ago Levy lost his young son Daniel to suicide. He’s chosen to speak publicly about this pain and Naubinway is his outlet to help start a conversation with his audience about mental illness, suicide and its aftermath.
Starting out with some acoustic songs, “Take It As It Comes” is a statement about helplessness felt, and the sophisticated folk finger-picking style “Potter’s Field” is a descriptive profile of his son’s struggle. However its not all grim, “Atoms Never Die” has a nice groove with its catchy bass rhythm. And the full production of “This Friend” gets profound as “hope is the wounded beast that should never be put out of its misery.” The pain of coping with grief is beautifully stated on the piano ballad “When Your Well Runs Dry” and poignant message to his son “How I Let You Down” continues the conversation.
The great thing about Naubinway is that even though it starts out slowly it explores elements of a life lived and being loved. Levy is in top form, with gorgeous ballad “Marigold” and the casual brilliance of “Handful of Sand.” But he brings us back into focus with the powerful title track, a brutally honest display. “Life goes on in spite of great tragedy,” he said. “So here I am.” Emotional and vivid descriptions of spreading his sons ashes across the water cap off one of the most heartbreaking albums I’ve ever heard.
Adam Levy moderated a panel, “Finding Harmony: Music & Mental Health,” at the University of Minnesota’s Coffman Memorial Union. This video presents a portion of Adam’s appearance that night, during which he describes his own struggles with mental health and the suicide of his son Daniel, a promising young artist. The presentation concludes with a rendition of the song, “Naubinway,”