Adam Levy’s new album, “Naubinway,” explores questions he’s wrestled with in the wake of his son Daniel’s death.
The name of the album comes from a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula —the last place Daniel’s mother remembers him smiling. His family gathered there the summer of 2012 to scatter his ashes six months after he committed suicide at the age of 21.
Levy, frontman for the beloved local indie rock band the Honeydogs, recorded much of the album at his home in Northeast. It will make its debut Oct. 23 and Levy will play a release show at the Cedar Cultural Center on Nov. 28.
(Adam Levy // Photo by Steven Cohen)
“It’s a multifaceted representation of the last few years of my life in struggling with this,” he said during a recent interview.
Levy said he started writing songs reflecting on his pain about a year and a half after his son’s death.
“They were about the ‘whys’ — trying to wrap my head around what had gone wrong,” he said. “Why did Daniel have to die? Was that an inevitability? As a parent, you spend the rest of your life asking what more could I have done.”
Levy has been active in advocacy work focused on mental health since his son’s death and has been eager to share his experiences as a parent who has had to confront such a devastating loss.
“Experiencing it is hard. Talking about it for me is not hard. It feels super helpful in getting through it,” he said. “Music has always provided that platform for me to examine my own life or larger issues. It makes sense that music would be a place that would have accommodated the big questions that I had in my mind about my life and about Daniel’s life.”
Levy said Daniel had a long battle with mental illness. He also had a passion for art and skateboarding and a deep empathy for animals.
“He was a beautiful person inside and out — a magnetic, funny, articulate, self reflective, deep-thinking person who was surrounded by a lot of friends who really admired him as a creative force,” Levy said.
Daniel’s art is featured on the cover of the “Naubinway” record and in a 32-page booklet. Levy is also working on a book of his son’s illustrations.
(The cover of “Naubinway”)
In a posting on his website, he wrote about the need to try to understand his son’s experience and death: “The more I read, the more I realize our understanding of suicide as a society is inadequate and in the process of changing. As with the grief process and my understanding Daniel’s mental illness, I know we can’t bring Daniel back, but my hope is that expanding the conversation about the nature of suicide will help others struggling with these issues, and perhaps help mental health professionals reach more people.”
While the subject matter is painful, Levy said many people have told him the album is uplifting.
“Making music at its most basic level is about communicating with people — sharing your emotional baggage and troubles with someone else and hoping it elicits some sort of response,” he said.
Adam Levy’s solo record, “Naubinway,” will be released Oct. 23. He will perform at the Cedar Cultural Center on Nov. 28. For more information go to www.adamlevyepk.wordpress.com and www.thinkpiecepublishing.com.