“Dream of Me” Whitebeard

In his latest single and music video, “Dream of Me,” Whitebeard explores the depth of his melodicism with an easygoing energy mostly absent from previous recordings, and the results of his labored efforts are quite charming indeed. The music video for “Dream of Me” is a festival of color, light and affectionate comradery between the masses all by itself, and even if it hadn’t been given as seductive a soundtrack as it was, it’d likely put anyone in a party-going mood this season. That said, there’s nothing as evocative in its three and a half minute running time as its melodic content, and most of all, the vitality-steeped vocalist breathing life into every beat.

The percussion here is beastly from the jump, but it never interrupts the steady flow of melodic wonderment coming from the other instruments in the track. The meticulous craftsmanship of the master mix prevents any two elements from bleeding together in the music, and though the precision production style is a little more abrasive than past Whitebeard cuts have been, it suits the slick nature of this composition perfectly. I think it was necessary to give the drums the lion’s share of the focus here, mostly to drive home the swing of the vocal with as much gusto as possible (from within the four walls of a recording studio, at least). This was the last song Whitebeard recorded with his son and principle drummer before his tragic passing, and it’s hard to imagine his finding a better chemistry with another percussionist in the future.

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Whitebeard has turned in some great string play in the past, but there’s something entirely different about the tonality of his guitar parts in “Dream of Me.” Much like the drumbeat and the bassline here, there’s an unfanciful edginess to their presence that makes his vocal sound so gentle by comparison. The aesthetical conflict results in some of the best grooving I’ve heard in a song bearing this composer’s name in the byline, and in a live setting, I can see “Dream of Me” turning into a full-fledged jam. The music video captures the essence of the music’s energy exquisitely, but I doubt anything would compare to absorbing its sonic virtuosity live and in person.

In the past couple of years, few of the artists in Whitebeard’s peer group have grown in as unique a fashion as he has. While I’m convinced that “Dream of Me” is more representative of a transitional era for his work than it is a glimpse into what his future might hold, it’s a good measurement of where he’s at creatively for sure. He’s still got some room to fill in this sound even more than he has in this most recent studio dispatch, but for what I look for in new indie cuts, this is a tough number to trump this April. Whitebeard’s next album, titled Gunfighters Only Lose Once, is tentatively scheduled to drop this fall, and if all of its tracks are as nice as this one is, it could likely be the most successful release of his career.

Clay Burton