Sweet Dreams & Starlight (2004)

Sweet music written to express the life-changing magic of fatherhood, Sweet Dreams & Starlight has a strong sense of wonder and captures the joy of discovery, both from the perspective as a child as well as that of an adult. As a result, this really isn’t a children’s album per sé, but an expression of humanity that anyone can relate to.

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Album Reviews...
Will Charm and Surprise You...

"What a wonderfully rich piano recording this is! It's really one of the better solo piano albums I've heard in a while, and one that gets better and better each time I listen to it. You'd expect a CD with the title Sweet Dreams & Starlight to be sappy, saccharine-coated, and laid back in the extreme. While there is no denying that this is a "nighttime" CD (best enjoyed in the "wee hours"), you'll be surprised at the complexity, the depth of emotion, and the myriad of styles on this sophisticated offering from David Nevue (this is his seventh release). There are more than a few moments where you may hear classical influences at work, but there are also subtle moments of jazz and, of course, plenty of mellow new age melodicism, too. I just love the opening title track which has a "dark" side to it, but not dark in a menacing way, more in a rich and nuanced fashion, where Nevue walks the line between wistfulness and romanticism. Nicely done! "Eden Again" is "spot on" loveliness, soflty playful and gentle even as its rolling rhythm unwinds. The refrain is particularly enjoyable on this song. The liner notes are lengthy and the artist writes about everything from the CD's cover photo shoot to how fatherhood has affected him and "Why starlight?" This glimpse into the inner workings of a sensitive and caring artist go a long ways to increasing one's enjoyment of the songs on Sweet Dreams & Starlight, or at least they had that effect on me. You also have to give bonus points to Nevue because he actually covers "Happy Together" (yes, that "Happy Together" by The Turtles) and talk about re-envisioning a piece of music! You will recognize it, but you won't believe it, especially the chorus! It's Nevue's more introspective pieces that affected me deepest, though, such as "Ursa Minor" which is sparse and minimal yet suffused with delicate beauty. "Across the Velvet Sea" is, surprisingly, somewhat morose and somber, even though it's also slightly uptempo, mostly owing to the lower register work that Nevue does at times. "Goodnight Moon" closes the album out in fine fashion, being one of the more sedate pieces here, yet still containing a flowing sense of movement and melody. This is really what Nevue is all about, i.e. uniting a strong sense of musicality with the nuance and complexity that one usually hears in more minimal piano music. I also heard this on Postcards from Germany, one of his earlier releases. It's what distinguishes him from some of the other players in this gerne. Sweet Dreams & Starlight will charm you and surprise you, as it did me, with its subtle sense of daring and also its instant approachability. It's one of the better recordings in this often over-exposed genre (new age solo piano music) in recent years and I highly recommend it to fans of this type of music."

- Review by Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire Magazine

An Expression of Humanity That Anyone Can Relate To...

“Sweet Dreams and Starlight” by David Nevue is the eighth release from an artist who seems to keep getting better all the time. Nevue’s albums have themes about things going on in his life at various times, and this one celebrates becoming a father after many years of not being sure if he wanted to take that step. Nevue states in the liner notes that he made this recording because he wanted to give his children an album they could call their own. I expected something very light and playful, perhaps including some lullabies; it is so much more than that. The pieces are very gentle, but the emotional depth is amazing. Many of the pieces have a strong sense of wonder, and it seems that they capture the joy of discovery as a child as well as the joy of discovering new places within yourself you didn’t know existed as an adult. As a result, this really isn’t a children’s album at all, but an expression of humanity that anyone can relate to. The fourteen tracks are all solo piano, and include ten original pieces and four delightful arrangements of favorite tunes. Nevue pays homage to one of his early influences, George Winston, in the title track. The opening melody is simple and heartfelt, beginning in the upper registers of the piano, much like a music box. He repeats the melody, fleshing it out, and brings in a middle section that sounds very much like a Winston passage; a reprise of the melody closes the song with a sigh. A great beginning, and one of Nevue’s best pieces ever. His arrangement of “Greensleeves” is sweet and simple, with a wonderful gentle flow. “The Moment Everything Changed” is almost a lullaby - very quiet, with a sense of wonder. “Jesus Loves Me” is truly a classic children’s hymn, and Nevue’s theme and variations approach to it is lovely, keeping it warm and childlike. “Song For Noelle” is a charming, tender ballad for Nevue’s daughter. Quiet enough to be a lullaby, the loving emotions flow through. One of the surprises is a great arrangement of The Turtles’ “Happy Together.” Nevue gives it a semi-classical approach that works really well. I’ve always loved this song, and Nevue’s version made me realize how strong it is musically. In the liner notes, Nevue writes about how much he loved looking at the stars as a child and how, as he got older, he got too busy to remember to do so. One of the first words his son Nathan learned was “star,” and his discovery of a starry sky has brought ”Daddy” full-circle to loving to look up again; “Ursa Minor” has a gentle, twinkling quality that describes a night sky. My favorite track is “Taking Flight,” which has a graceful, rolling left hand that gives it momentum, and a melody that suggests excitement and anticipation. I hope this will be available in sheet music soon! “Across the Velvet Sea” is kind of a dark, dreamy waltz. “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is another theme and variations, and is totally charming in its innocence and wonder. “The Face of the Deep” is a bit more mysterious, but is tranquil and calm. “Sweet Dreams and Starlight” is one of my favorite albums so far this year. Very highly recommended!

- Review by Kathy Parsons, Solo Piano Publications

It is Crystalline, It is Beautiful, and it Tickles...

“The title of this solo piano album leads you think that it is an album of lullabies and dreams and it is. For both adults and children. Listen to this music for a just little while and you begin to dream. In your mind’s eye you might see the twinkling of stars and the glimmer of moonbeams. You might hear the musical laughter of a child. Be careful! It may be coming from inside. Sweet Dreams & Starlight is number eight for self-taught pianist, composer, and music promoter David Nevue. His music has topped the charts more than once and he is heard often on radio stations around the globe and on the internet. He is the creator of Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio heard on the net as well. The title tune Sweet Dreams & Starlight is a beautiful opening that sprinkles star dust and sugar plums on anyone’s dreams, child or not. The music is as light as the sound of the falling snow that accumulates on your eyelashes. It is crystalline, it is beautiful and it tickles. Eden Again is my favorite cut on Sweet Dreams & Starlight. No matter how many times I play the album, I keep coming back to this beautifully pensive tune. I wondered how you could find Eden twice in a lifetime when many fail to find heaven on earth even once. Then I realize that David is giving grace for his two children. Sometimes parents prayers do get answered. A soft and simple tune, The Gift, is a thank you to the one you love. You give so much every day and in ways that many would not realize is a true gift. The smile, the touch, the knowing without talking kind of gifts that are shared by few and wanted by all. One of the songs on the album had such a familiarity that I was startled when I realized that David covered an old rock ’n roll song by the Turtles called Happy Together. It is not a song that is played much except in raucous TV commercials. I liked it for the memories it provoked and the unique treatment produced by his solo piano. Across the Velvet Sea is a tune with a balancing act between moody and lighter moments. The tune has a good flow even though it is a bit daring, just like a voyage across an unknown ocean. The Face of the Deep is a thought provoking tune that makes you wonder what David was doing when the idea first introduced itself. The tune ranges from sad to moody, but it is never morose. The title suggests to me someone floundering and sinking in vast ocean. A moment when all hope is lost. And then you see the “face of the deep”. Finally, the cut Goodnight Moon closes the album. Imagine sitting on the back porch on a cold winter’s night, staring up at the sky as the moon beams down an eerie, but beautiful light that turns the snow a pale blue color. And just for a second you can see a smile on the face of the old man in the moon. A perfect ending to the day. David Nevue’s music is for quiet nights by the fire. Or times when you are reading to the kids. Or for watching for falling stars. Play the music David. Nathan and Noelle want to hear it again. And so do I. Rating: Very Good.

- Review by R J Lannan, NewAgeReporter.com

Customer Comments...

"I am a keeper of late night vigils. When our half of the world sleeps, my spirit tends to yearn, quite often with a piano nudging my creative inspirations along. "Sweet Dreams and Starlight" made last night's ride into the mystery of windswept imaginings more beautiful than ever."

- Jim in Dallas, TX

"I recently bought a CD alarm clock and set it to wake me up to "Sweet Dreams and Starlight." This morning my oldest daughter (age 6) came in my room a few minutes after the alarm went off and the CD began. She said to me "Mama, I wondered where the music was coming from....it sounds like there's angels in the house!"

- J Holly Peitsch, Rhinelander WI

MORE Reviews of this album at Amazon.com.