Keyboardist Writes Song For Murdered Son
For Jim Widdifield, the question is how to turn a negative into a positive.
There can be nothing but negative in having your son, Craig Widdifield, gunned down, but Jim is hoping some good will come of such an awful experience.
As a musician, his first response to Craig’s death on April 24 was to write a song, Gone, Gone, Gone. His second was to use the song as a call to end the gun violence in the Lower Mainland. The third was to make the song available to charity with a goal to raise money and apply it in a way Craig would have wanted.
“I’ve always had a real problem with lyrics,” Widdifield admitted.
“I can always come up with riffs, but the way this happened to me, I had to do this. It virtually flowed from me. It was an experience I’ve never had before. I knew this came directly from Craig — I could virtually feel him. “
Gone, Gone, Gone has been recorded in two versions at Blue Frog Studios in White Rock. The acoustic recording features singer Calla Krause, accompanied by pianist Barry Powell and violinist Stephanie Sung, while a full-band recording has Don Jones on guitar, Ray Ayotte on drums, Rob Marr (formerly of the Payolas) on bass, Chris Gilburg on vocals, and Widdifield on keys.
He described the former as hymnal and the fuller version as more commercial. The song is simple, says what it has to, and is free of phoney melodrama. Sentimental, naturally, but not maudlin.
Widdifield’s aspirations for Gone, Gone, Gone are clear.
“I’m hoping that what I’ve said will be helpful,” he said. “If there’s one person who doesn’t have to go through what I’ve gone through, it will be worth it. This anger must stop right here.”
A retired businessman and the son of religious parents, Widdifield plays keyboards in two bands, the Compound Blues Band and Kooler Kings. The past two months have been a trial for him and he only now figures he can address the situation, or play the song, without breaking down. It’s filled him with resolve.
“I didn’t want any retribution for what happened,” he said of the possible retaliation for the murder. He’s also tried to be sympathetic to Craig’s killer.
“I’ve prayed for forgiveness for him. He’s got a burden to carry with him for the rest of his life.”
Craig Widdifield was gunned down in Surrey on the way to meeting his wife and two-year-old son. In covering his funeral, media reported police allegations that Craig was gang-involved with connections to the drug trade.
While he doesn’t deny that his son got mixed up in something that was well above his head, Jim Widdifield objects to the description.
“I was so upset,” he exclaims. “He had no criminal record. He was a loving, caring person. We all make mistakes and he’s paying for it. You can’t condemn a person for making a mistake. I’ve made enough errors of judgment in my own life.”
The day before he died, Craig was happy and was looking forward to a bright future in a new business.
“It was all taken away,” Jim Widdifield said ruefully.
Gone, Gone, Gone has been turned over to the Save The Children Canada foundation, Craig’s favoured charity and thus a natural choice. The foundation will receive all royalties.
“If I have to focus my attentions,” said Widdifield, “It has to be in a positive way. If I don’t, it will destroy me.”