THE DREAM BROTHERS: Full Of Life Now- Love Songs Of Walt Whitman is a collection of songs using the poetry of Walt Whitman and written by The Dream Brothers, Gary Glickman and Stephan David Hewitt. Also included in this CD is a setting of W.B. Yeats’ Innisfree and two of the Dream Brothers\' original songs. Inspired by the beauty and power of Whitman’s bold poetry, written mostly in the 1850’s, these poems are as relevant today as they were in the time Whitman was writing: a country torn apart at the seams by war, economic hardship, and yet a longing to express the deep soulful yearnings of human existence.
Stephan and Gary are both classically trained musicians and composers, with degrees in music, and were led by a series of synchronistic events to write music to Whitman’s lyrics. Stephan’s training has also included the world of early electronic music (see his album Inroads by Stephan David, also available on CDBaby) while Gary has written several operas and is a voice teacher. Both are writers and counselors as well. Their idea was to make the words of Whitman come alive again, so that people would be able to hear the emotional quality of the longing and celebration of life and passion that Whitman so beautifully wrote about around the time the U.S. was falling into Civil War.
Walt Whitman was born on Long Island, N.Y. in 1818, in an age of candles, quill pens, and American enslavement of Africans. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were both alive and active. In 1855, at age 36, Whitman self-published his initial volume of Leaves of Grass, and in 1860, a year before the start of the Civil War, published his third edition, “Calamus,” from which most of these songs have sprung. By war’s end, 1865, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass was world famous, but in America the poems themselves—full of references to sex, naked bodies, and physical love between men—were often dismissed as obscene and obnoxious. He lost his government job when his manuscript was discovered by his boss.
Near the end of his life, Whitman saw the disaster that a materialist America was leading itself to. In 1888 he declared: “every man is trying to outdo every other man—giving up modesty, giving up honesty, giving up generosity, to do it: creating a war, every man against every man: the whole wretched business falsely keyed by money ideals, money politics, money religions, money men.\" He died in 1892, at the age of 73, in a country of electric lights, typewriters, telephones, the first moving pictures, the massacre at Wounded Knee (1890), and the invention of the concept of “homosexual” as a distinct (and criminal) kind of person. Still, the power of his vision—that Spirit is all-present, within every one of us, unrestricted by religion or morals, unstoppable by death—has continued to grow as a powerful force of peace in the world.