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Dream Cafe

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Album Review

Dream Cafe represents a turning point in the career of the man considered by many to be the greatest folk singer of his generation as he for the first time enlists the help of guitarist-cum-producer Bo Ramsey. Before Dream Cafe, Brown had long been known on the folk troubadour circuit, but he still had not felt comfortable in the confines of the studio, as many of his previous albums sound like watered-down attempts to capture his onstage spirit. This time around, however, backed by the guitarist Ramsey, as well as tabla, various percussion instruments, steel guitar, and the haunting vocals of Kate MacKenize, Brown produces an album as light and refreshing as a summer breeze. Although it is plagued by the inconsistency which characterizes most of his studio work, some of his most heartfelt and enduring songs can be found on this album, most notably "Laughing River," "Spring Wind," and the crowd favorite "Just By Myself," all of which are found on the superior The Live One, but receive preferential treatment here. The album covers familiar territory: In "You Drive Me Crazy" and "Just by Myself" he sings of the nuances of love and loss, the latter track devoted to the perverse pleasures of loneliness. "Laughing River" is a hymn to one of the singer's favorite pleasures —- the art of angling — and in "Spring Wind" he delves into more philosophical territory, exploring aging and what it means to spend time wisely. In the latter track, he sings, "We are a cross between our parents/and hippies in a tent." Likewise, Dream Cafe showcases a singer true to his roots but fully matured and open to the present.

Customer Reviews

Refreshing and Honest

Greg Brown is a wonderful, refreshing authentic artist whose advocacy in real life mirrors the values expressed in his songwriting. I have been listening to Greg Brown on roadtrips, while I drink coffee on Sunday mornings, or any time when the pace of our frenetic existence has got me down; without fail, Brown's music is enlivening and calming. If you are into folk, have ever enjoyed the likes of John Denver, James Taylor, Josh Ritter, or Martin Sexton, you will love the music of Greg Brown; this album is simply incredible. peace

Dream Cafe - beautiful folk

I have discovered Greg Brown after hearing Dream Cafe on XM one day on the way to work. I plan to sample the entire album, hope it is as beautiful as the track Dream Cafe. PS - I am in part writing this review to test Ping. Hope this helps me figure out how to use it.

Changed my life and made me love folk

This is one of the greatest albums Greg has ever made. I love it, and I don't know where I'd be with out it. Every song on this album is great, there is no wasting time listening to.


Born: 1949 in Fairfield, IA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Critic Josh Kun once described singer and songwriter Greg Brown as "a Midwestern existentialist hobo with a quick-draw mouth, a bloodied heart, and bourbon on his breath." One of the leading contemporary folk artists of the American Midwest, Brown's music reflects a poetic spirit while also sounding thoroughly down to Earth; his deep, craggy voice expresses quirky humor and the mysteries of life and love with equal skill, and over the course of a career that's spanned more than five decades, he's...
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