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.
As I look back on my music over the years, it's fascinating to see how each of my albums reflects a particular period of my life. It's almost as if my history, since the age of about 20, has been put to music. Sweet Dreams & Starlight is no different. This particular album, however, marks my transition into fatherhood.
What makes this album somewhat unexpected is that up until a few years ago, I wasn't even sure I wanted to be a father. When Julie and I married in 1989, we agreed to wait ten years before having kids. That allowed me to push all consideration of fatherhood to the back of my mind.
We kept to our schedule. Almost exactly ten years after our wedding, Julie became pregnant, and on March 9th of 2000, my son Nathan was brought into this world.
That was the moment everything changed.
Due to complications with Julie's pregnancy, I was the primary caregiver for little Nathan during his first few days on Earth. The irony of this did not go unnoticed by me. After spending my entire life avoiding contact with babies, I was now bathing, changing, and nurturing one on a near 24-hour basis. During those first, intense days, my heart was transformed. I bonded deeply with my son.
It's now been four years since Nathan was born and I thank God for him every day. He is such a joy and blessing to us. And, as if to say "I want to bless you even more," God gave Julie and I another child, Noelle, a sweet little girl born to us on June 12th, 2003.
Fatherhood has completely altered my perspective on life and family. Where I was once rather pessimistic about becoming a father, I now view fatherhood as a role I was made for. My children have released in me a deeper, more profound love than I had any idea I was capable of. They are now as much a part of me as is my own heartbeat.
And that is, in part, why I put this collection together. I wanted to give my children an album they could call their very own; a gift of music from the father who loves them more than he can express with words alone.
One of the first words Julie and I taught Nathan was 'star'. "Where's the star, Nathan?" we'd say to him before bedtime, and I remember him, still less than a year old, looking up and pointing with glee.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." - Psalm 19:1
When I was a child, I loved looking at the stars, too. I was totally fascinated by them. But as I got older, I stopped looking. I became too "busy." But my ignorance never changed the fact that the stars were still there, providing light, waiting to be noticed.
"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." - Romans 1:20
At four-years-old, Nathan is still looking up at the stars in wonder. And my daughter Noelle, who is now 9 months old, is just beginning to look up. And thanks to my children, and the grace and mercy of God, I'm learning to look up all over again.
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, And by Your will they were created and have their being." - Revelation 4:11
"Praise Him, sun and moon, Praise Him, all you shining stars. Praise Him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created." - Psalm 148:3-5
The Carousel of Dreams
When I started working on this album, the title, Sweet Dreams & Starlight came to me almost immediately. And with that, I had a particular picture in mind for the cover: that of a child riding a carousel. To get that picture, I needed a carousel, and the carousel I wanted was the Riverfront Carousel in Salem, Oregon. Everything about it; the music, the motion, the artistry and the colored lights, speaks to me of childhood dreams.
After getting the permission we needed, we rented out the carousel for a late-night photoshoot. I wanted very badly to get a shot of my then two-year-old son, Nathan, riding the carousel for the album cover. Have you ever tried to organize a lengthy photoshoot with a two-year-old? After awhile we stopped asking Nathan to pose and just let him enjoy the ride while we took "candid" shots. Nathan must have rode the carousel twenty or thirty times that night! But we got the exact shot we wanted, which now graces the cover of this album.
In addition to taking pictures of Nathan, we spent a good deal of time taking close-up shots of artistic details on the carousel. As a result, virtually every design element you see on this package is taken from some part of the carousel.
I offer my most sincere thanks to everyone at Salem's Riverfront Carousel, especially Deanna Frantum, Chris Johnson, Karin Holton, Barbara Larson and Bob Liddell. Each of you helped to make this album - and one more dream - come true.
The horses featured in this CD package are as follows: On the cover, Nathan rides "Brown Beauty," my favorite horse on the carousel. On page 2 (opposite) you see the face of "Liberty," with "Brown Beauty" standing in the background. Page 6 & 7 feature the beautiful "Kate," and beside her, "Francis the Mule."
You can learn more about Salem's Riverfront Carousel at www.salemcarousel.org
- David Nevue, April 2011
"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 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!
- reviewed by Kathy Parsons, for MainlyPiano.com, on 5/30/2004
"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 genre.
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."
- reviewed by Bill Binkelman for Wind and Wire Magazine
"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
"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
A Selection of Buyer Reviews posted at Amazon.com...
I just had a baby and i bought this cd so he can listen to it and i love it! Its very relaxing and the music is beautiful !! David Nevue is very talented and an amazing piano player ! Cant stop listening to it!
If you're looking for a soothing piano solo, this CD is absolutely wonderful. Just what I was looking for - beautiful piano music with no words. This would also be a great cd to play for babies and children... so relaxing and beautiful. I already own several of David Nevue's collections and will definitely be buying more.
More Customer Reviews of this album at Amazon.com.