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20-time Grammy winner Pat Metheny returns with his most personal record to date - Dream Box.¨
Dream Box is an unusual recording for me; a compilation of solo tracks recorded across a few years that I discovered while listening on tour. During the extensive touring period that made up most of 2022 for me, I found a forgotten folder on my drive. I often make quick recordings of things; a new tune, a new (or old) guitar, a standard tune, or just to try something out. I have a spot in my laptop where I stash these things. And truthfully; often never to be heard again.
Usually, the only time I get to listen to my own stuff is while on the road. I often say I live on output, with little or no time for input. That changes on tour, where suddenly there seems to be more free hours in the day, albeit on a bus or in some far-flung hotel room. Occasionally, those moments offer a chance to rummage around in the files to see if anything interesting may lie there.
This past year was a particularly busy travel year for me, with about 160 performances worldwide. In the course of all that travel, I found myself returning to that discovered folder lots of times, genuinely surprised at what I was finding in there.
From those listening sessions, I gradually sifted through everything to find this program emerging as a coherent whole. I found that I had unintentionally gotten to a destination I had not planned for, and I am excited to share what was buried in there.
These nine tracks were my favorites and added up to something unique for me. I never played any of these initial tracks included here more than that once. These are really moments in time, and in fact, I have almost no memory of having recorded most of them. They just kind of showed up.
Every track but one reflects a method of recording that began for me on the piece Unity Village way back on Bright Size Life; an initial harmonic part laid down with the chords followed by a second track of melodic and improvisational material.
The focus here is on electric guitar, but maybe more to the point; quiet electric guitar. It is an area of particular interest for me. A goal has always been to have a touch on the electric that might get me as close to the kind of phrase-by-phrase dynamics that can occur naturally with an acoustic instrument. In fact, using an electric in this way is quite a bit harder than what occurs naturally with an acoustic. There is one more step between the touch of the player and the listener that has to be accounted for.
Ballads. I write one a day it seems - more than I can keep track of, actually. Charlie Haden was the guy who encouraged me to not just write a lead sheet, but to document each thing I write by doing even just a simple recording of it. So, yet again, thanks, Charlie.
Regarding the title, box is musician slang for a hollow-body electric guitar. Using that vernacular, there are some super cool Dream Box instruments represented on this recording, including the prototype of new instrument I have been working with Ibanez on that reflects my interest in pre-war Charlie Christian style pick-ups.
But dreams in their broadest sense make up the vibe with this set. Music exists for me in an elusive state, often at its best when discovered apart from any particular intention.
I hope folks might find some dreams of their own in this music. ~ Pat