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Chris Weeks is back; this time under the alias 'C\/\/\/\'. His new album Flashback Blues was a labour of love; a refreshingly honest & open depiction of the inner-workings of his mind, during a period of great personal loss.
I decided to use the alias C\/\/\/\ (CWM) for this release, as the style of music sits somewhere between my two main musical identities, namely: Chris Weeks & Kingbastard. The word ‘cwm’ (pronounced ‘koom’) is not only a handy acronym for Chris Weeks Music; it also means ‘valley’ in Welsh. As West-Wales has been my adopted home for the past eight years, this alias seemed doubly apt.
‘Flashback Blues’ is a reflective, deeply personal & emotionally charged record; one which is intended to honour the memory of my father, who died in late 2013, after a relatively short battle against a particularly aggressive type of cancer.
Losing a loved-one is never easy, but in the wake of my Dad’s death there was an almost overwhelming sense of relief; his pain & suffering was over. This was, however, short-lived…
Grief can manifest itself in many ways. I wasn’t aware of just how powerful it can be, until I started to experience both physical & mental symptoms. The first warning signs were intense ‘flashbacks’; dark, yet incredibly vivid vignettes of the last few months of my Dad’s life. They would catch me completely off-guard; usually at the most inopportune of moments. As the weeks passed, my body became riddled with aches & pains; I lost interest in everything I love to do, making/listening to music, creating artwork etc... My creativity had completely dried-up. My physical symptoms became so all-encompassing that I was unable to go out for my usual early morning walks, a source of much inspiration in the past. My mental health began to suffer.
With time, numerous trips to the Doctor, & a cocktail of prescription medication, I finally started to feel more like ‘myself’. My aches & pains had become manageable; I was able to get back out for my walk…
One particularly wet, Welsh morning, I arrived at my usual haunt & set-out along my chosen path. An hour or so into my travels, I was hit by a particularly bad flashback; one which stopped me in my tracks. I took refuge on a nearby bench, turned off my music & sheltered under my umbrella; listening to the rain drumming an all too familiar beat on the canvas.
It was there & then that I made a conscious decision to address these flashbacks. I could no longer succumb to these melancholic memories. I had to ‘channel’ them; use them as a source of inspiration. (I have always used music/art creation as a kind of therapy; a means of getting what’s on the inside, out).
I took my portable field-recorder out of my bag & recorded the sounds of the rain & surrounding noise of nature, as if to capture this decisive moment. Upon listening back, my brain began to spark with creative urges, ideas started to flow. I cut short my walk & headed home…
The following two-week period, late May, early June 2014, was the most intense, creatively satisfying moment of my life. All my suppressed emotions & pent-up creativity cascaded from me like a waterfall! I was consumed by creativity again, working sixteen hours, or more, each day.
‘Flashback Blues’ is the result.
I wish I could say that this most cathartic of creative experiences means that I no longer suffer with the symptoms of grief, but they still lurk in both body & mind. My flashbacks are thankfully less-frequent, but no less potent when they do strike. I assume, with time, they will pass…
It’s hard for me to express just how much my Dad meant to me. He was a true gentleman; the most hard-working, creatively gifted, wise, talented & genuine person that I have ever had the pleasure to have known. He could turn his hand to anything, nothing was beyond him.
If I can be half the man he was, then I would consider my time on this Earth a success.
So here’s to you Dad; I miss you more than words can say.