Nick Weaver | Credit: Supplied

Love Letter To A Record: Nick Weaver’s Mum Helen On His Posthumous Album, ‘Won’t Let Go’

Music Feeds’ Love Letter to a Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with the music they love and share stories about how it has influenced their lives. Here, Helen Wellings, the mum of late Deep Sea Arcade co-founder Nick Weaver, shares what his posthumous album ‘Won’t Let Go’ means to her.

Won’t Let Go is thirteen tracks of intensely personal compositions, which Nick largely wrote during his time in isolation and lockdown throughout the COVID pandemic. Its release this week is the result of Nick’s family rallying to finish the work that he had started.

Helen Wellings’ Love Letter To Her Son Nick Weaver’s Posthumous Album ‘Won’t Let Go’:

Dearest ‘Won’t Let Go’,

My heart becomes heavier as I begin to listen to you, but almost instantly I’m transported into the world of the brilliant, complex mind and emotions that created these remarkable compositions.

I lose myself in it.

I absolutely love this album, not just as his proud mum, but because it’s beautifully composed, passionate, and powerful music that’s unforgettable. He sings all the vocals and plays every instrument except drums. On each track I hear the different style and moods of these songs, intrigued by the meaning. The lyrics are pure poetry. The songs keep spinning around in my head incessantly.

Listening to the songs is as close to Nick as is possible now. I feel very near, because these are deeply personal, intimate compositions that come from the pit of his soul. He draws us in, holding nothing back. It’s as if he wrote this music as his legacy, throwing caution to the wind to reveal his true talents and innermost thoughts!

First surprise of the tracks is his falsetto vocals in ‘Cold Chills’. They’re as angelic as a boy-chorister’s, ranging down to deep baritones on “chills”.

‘Snowing hard and I can’t see my feet

But I won’t be afraid

No, I won’t feel a thing’

These lines have poignant imagery and underlying currents of melancholy and regret. But, as always with Nick’s music like his personality, there’s overriding courage, wit, and optimism. Here he’s not afraid to confront his pain and see the way forward. The snow will melt, like his fears.

In hospital the day he received his first dose of Chemo, Nick played ‘Cold Chills’ to me through his Sono’s speaker. He was always modest to a fault but obviously proud of that composition and was touched that I wanted to hear it over and over. He was keen to know whether the lyrics could be heard properly – they had to be audible. I reassured him they were clear although their profound messages would take a bit of understanding!

Many of these songs are love poems – Nick is the supreme romantic. The harmony he creates in ‘Won’t Let Go’, his homage to Tia, and the swelling strings of LA’s Section Quartet are achingly beautiful. In ‘Sunshine On Its Way’ the pedal effects are masterful but it’s his sublime guitar melody that always bring tears to my eyes. So does the heart-beat rhythm of ‘Shapes In The Dark’ and the closing verse of ‘Not In Her Way’:

‘She’s not sure if she’ll take me

She will she won’t she might

And who am I to fight.’

There are songs of lost or discarded loves, as in ‘Without You’ with its rollicking groove and ‘Never Say’ about his contempt for the narcissist and user.

Nick loved the freedom that cars offered and some of the songs on the album use driving as a metaphor. I love the urgent opening chords of the second track ‘Drive’ that seems to have you pushing through the traffic, compared with the meandering melody that follows – a dig at the subject who is hesitant, uncertain, stunted.

‘Drive even if you don’t know where

At least you will be far from here.’

‘Sweet Sixteen’ has driving instrumentals that takes me on its grand tour, albeit transitioning to a more subdued rhythm and confronting message in:

‘Don‘t come near my car babe

This machine can’t take your weight

Because it’s old and it’s over honey

Find yourself another driver.’

The track ends with powerful chords that are suggestive of that person arriving just deserting and walking home!

A month after Nick passed away in April 2021, sound engineer Tony Buchen began mixing ‘Cold Chills’ in his Camperdown studio. I sat in with a group of his close musician friends, making sure the voice was lifted, the words coming to the surface, producing the clarity he wished for.

Hey Nick, like the rest of your album, ‘Cold Chills’ is a work of art! I hope you realised how brilliant you were. While there’s often no sense to life, these songs remind me of the sublime pleasures you found in nature, love and relationships that inspired you to compose and lay bare your soul. They’re simply balm to my soul and I’ve come to know you even better through them.

You live on in your music and I can’t get enough of it. With all my heart, this is my love letter to Won’t Let Go.

What a magnificent legacy you left.

Helen Wellings

Further Reading:

Love Letter To A Record: Deep Sea Arcade’s Nick Weaver On ‘Donny Hathaway – LIVE (1972)’

Nick Weaver, Of Sydney Band Deep Sea Arcade, Has Died Aged 37

Deep Sea Arcade Return With New Single, Album & National Tour

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