The Dream Brothers
Gig Seeker Pro

The Dream Brothers

Band Pop Adult Contemporary


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Love Songs of Walt Whitman"

Shelby Chambers (Contact)
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2008
It’s been done before – that is, setting the work of Walt Whitman to music – but the Dream Brothers, UCLA Extension professors Stephan David Hewitt and Gary Glickman, thought there was always something missing.

Glickman and David Hewitt find the many attempts tended to be over-intellectualized, misrepresenting the democratic nature of Whitman’s poetry.

“I had heard various composers’ settings of his songs over the years, but they were very intellectual and stuffy, and not sexy at all. The poems are really sexy,” Glickman said.

Whitman’s ideology of love, acceptance and the need to sing the body eclectic are to be recast into song as the two premiere their new album “Full of Life Now: The Love Songs of Walt Whitman,” accompanied by their five-piece ensemble tonight at the Northwest Campus Auditorium sponsored by the UCLA LGBT Campus Resource Center.

As Ezra Pound wrote, it was Whitman who “broke the new wood” of the strict poetic line, creating an egalitarian form to match the meaning of his poetry, his meter and intentional lack-thereof.

In their presentation of Whitman’s 1855 set of poems “Leaves of Grass” – which the poet proclaimed to be the new American epic – Glickman and David Hewitt have taken care to preserve this freedom, sexuality and everyman quality in order to faithfully realize the poet’s intention, as well as to enable their music to appeal to a broader audience.

“I think UCLA is the perfect audience for this music. It’s kind of a new genre of music, because the poems dictate the way the music is written. It’s somewhat pop, somewhat classical – just like the poetry,” David Hewitt said.

The “sexiness” of Whitman’s poetry, especially in the case of the “Calamus” poems, was an early and continuing cause of shock and condemnation toward the work as being overtly vulgar, even homoerotic. However, while it may have been too bold to ask an 1850s audience to accept a poem titled “We Two Boys Together Clinging,” almost 150 years later the public can unpack and embrace the meaning of Whitman’s gender-blind affection that appreciates sexuality as a divine extension of the human body.

“What I love about Whitman is that he combines the sexual and spiritual and coins them as one thing, that all life is sacred in all forms,” David Hewitt said.

What today may be considered an enlightened sensibility once garnered Whitman simple and crude categorizations as homosexual, bisexual, even hypersexual.

Both David Hewitt and Glickman view Whitman’s love as being essentially human and therefore transcending such categories, categories that even our 21st century attitudes of acceptance fall short of.

“He really loved women and loved men. In our culture, which is so fragmented and compartmentalized, if you’re one thing you can’t be another thing. All the liberation ideologies have been very important, but the downside is that they’ve separated us all,” Glickman said.

Whitman’s radical message of love for self and stranger alike is as important politically now as it was when he composed “Leaves of Grass” on the eve of the Civil War.

Beyond acceptance and love, issues of race and religion also permeate Whitman’s work.

“This time filled with war and so much hatred is exactly the time Whitman was writing for. In a time with so much hatred, it’s important to say that the people we are so quick to hate are our brothers and sisters and lovers,” Glickman said.

Glickman and David Hewitt acutely feel the timeliness of their work, not only to our political landscape, but also for the college-aged community, which so fervently seeks what Whitman’s wisdom has to offer.

“Really the soul’s journey is the essential one. If people starting out knew that, if I knew that in my 20s, I could have saved so much energy plundering around through knowledge and facts and intellect,” David Hewitt said.

They produced this album not just for the sake of poetry but with the hope that it would impact others.

“One of the reasons that we’re really excited about this performance, way beyond ambition or personal stuff, is the chance to share this incredible work with young people who are just starting out,” Glickman said.

The two absolutely feel their appropriation of Whitman’s words to be not only necessary to present them to a new audience, but that their efforts would be to Whitman’s approval.

“We asked ourselves, ‘Would (Whitman) be cool with this?’” Glickman said.

They hope that, by putting Whitman’s words into a new form, they can be appreciated in new ways.

“That’s essential too; we didn’t write this stuff to aggrandize ourselves or to make ourselves geniuses,” David Hewitt said.

“We really wanted to get his poetry out there in as pure a form as we can and to set it in music that people can hear today, and I think we accomplished that.” - UCLA Daily Bruin

"Album Release Concerts"

September 13th & 14th, 2008. Santa Monica, California
Highways Performance Space.

The Dream Brothers--Stephan Hewitt and Gary Glickman—and ensemble will be performing a double-concert weekend at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica September 13th and 14th, celebrating the release of their new album, Full of Life Now: Songs of Walt Whitman.

“These lyrics Whitman wrote as an optimistic young man,” said Gary Glickman, co-composer with pianist and singer Stephan Hewitt. “They’re passionate, radical, open-hearted love poems to us—the people born a hundred years later. Our music is another re-incarnation of his timeless lyrics. A way to remind people the guy was a visionary, writing to our generation a hundred years ago.”

In fact, most of the poems come from Whitman’s “Calamus” volume, approaching its 150th anniversary in 2010. That was the collection notorious at the time, and ever since, for being too radically explicit about sexuality, passion, and re-incarnation.

The Dream Brother’s music—unlike most previous Whitman settings—doesn’t shy away from that body heat. If anything, they connect the deep-chakra sexiness of Whitman’s words to the rhythms and harmonies of both folk and rock, traditions that really came out of Whitman’s own desire to create a sound “of the people,” and speak in a common language for everyone—an American language of the heart.

Performance times, and ticket prices, at

Highways Performance Space and Gallery
1651 18th St, Santa Monica, CA 9040

Tickets 310-315-1459

Sat 8:30pm $20/$15 Sun 2pm $15

- September 13th&14th Highways


Full of Life Now: Love Songs of Walt Whitman (2008)

Inroads, Stephan David
Dragonfly Music
DM 8993-01



Walt Whitman wrote radical, body-as-sacred lyrics as a young man before the Civil War—similar times!!-- that are still radical today, maybe even more radical today, when the temptation to demonize “the enemy” is still so great:

“It seems to me there are other men, in other lands,
yearning and thoughtful…
It seems to me I can look over and behold them,
in Germany, Italy, France,
Spain, and far, far away in China, or in Russia, or Japan, talking other dialects,
and it seems to me, if I could know those men I would
Become attached to them as I do men in my own lands—
Oh, I know we would be brethren and lovers--
I know I would be happy with them!

One day by chance we pulled those lyrics off the bookshelf, and it was literally like the poet himself was whispering to us, telling us it was time for a baritone to sing his lines out loud—and sing them, finally, the passionate way they were meant to be sung, with all the music and soulfulness intact, for a new century.
One song led to the next, until we had at least a couple album’s worth of amazing, passionate songs we’re sure the poet would think are “full-blooded” in the way he was full-blooded, the way he meant his songs to be sung—as anthems to a new millennium:

Be not afraid of my body!
I am he who aches with amorous love!

That was the beginning of our "Full of Life" album, finished in time to start getting the songs known and celebrated in time for 2010, the 150th anniversary of “Calamus,” the third volume of “Leaves of Grass” where most of the poems come from. We've debuted the songs at our UCLA concert, as well as our local concerts at Highways Performance Space ( We’re taking them on the road, to celebrate the Whitman 150th.

When we're not performing/composing, we’re both counselors and music healers in Santa Monica, dedicating our healing work, our songwriting and our performances to connecting people once again with their belief in –- of all things—love.

Gary Glickman, two-time NEA fellowship recipient, is the author of the novels, Years From Now (Knopf/NAL) and Aura(Haworth), and musical settings of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Virginia Woolf's Orlando. As a psychotherapist, he works at the piano with singing and movement.
Stephan David Hewitt is a singer, songwriter, pianist and electronic music composer, writer, and visual artist. His first album, Inroads (Dragonfly Music) has been called a collection of “Soundtracks For The Imagination.” With Gary Glickman, he teaches a course on Archetypal Journeys at UCLA.