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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Gaspé's Jesse Murray Releases Beautiful Adaptation Of Edgar Allen Poe's Poem 'Dream Within A Dream'

Jesse Murray is the son of a filmmaker, multi-instrumentalist and carpenter. At home in the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, Canada, music was always a part of everyday life. Like his father, Jesse is a self-taught artist.

He grew up listening to masterpieces from great composers and singers like Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart, Strauss, Brassens, Brel, Félix Leclerc, Gilles Vigneault, Gordon Lightfoot and Leonard Cohen. As a teenager, he learned to play guitar. Through reading great poets like Mallarmé, Ronsard, Alfred de Musset, Edgar Allen Poe, Rudyard Kipling, William Blake and Federico Garcia Lorca, he came to understand the natural harmony between words and music.

Drawing inspiration from classical literature, Jesse, with his keen ear for arranging, has created a compelling multi-lingual body of work (English/French/Spanish) that resonates with multiple audiences. He has a bank of songs in a range of styles that he will be further developing and recording in his ongoing collaboration with Emre Cords (AC/DC, Jimmy Page, Daniel Lanois, The Tragically Hip). Following the example of Brassens, he fits his music to some classical poems.

A Dream Within a Dream” is a bilingual song, which refers to two cultures. The verses are in English and his chorus is in Spanish. Jesse did not try to hide his French; this linguistic colour creates a unique atmosphere, which refers to its French-Canadian origin.

The song is inspired by a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, which suggests that life is intangible and fleeting. Like dreams, it moves at lightning speed and no one can grasp its true essence.

With a reassuring voice, Jesse however created a sweet melody that clashes with the melancholy atmosphere of the text of the late American writer. As for the lonesome wolf evoked by Jesse in the lyrics " Lobo solitario en Mexico ", it is a metaphor that links the written and musical elements of the song.

“Lobo solitario en Mexico”

When Jesse was invited to a wedding in Mexico in 2019, he had already been contemplating “A Dream Within a Dream” for some time.

Single and seeking inspiration, he decided to attend. There is no such thing as chance, only encounters. On the morning of his second day there, realizing he was alone, he was feeling melancholic but strong. He grabbed his guitar and the chorus “Lobo solitario en Mexico” was born. After that, Poe’s words flowed out of him in a new way. Months later, when it was time to record with Emre, most of the song was finished, except for the last verse. He desperately wanted to add the last paragraph to his song, but he felt that the construction of the final stanza did not allow his initial melody to flow. With only an hour left to find a solution, he began strumming his guitar. Suddenly, the last verse came to him, creating the perfect ending for the song.

Heading back to the recording session, and with the vibe of Emre’s beach-style guitar riff, the essence of the song was born: a blend between Poe’s questions on life, its meaning and relationships and the lonely French Canadian wolf walking on the beautiful shores of Mexico.

At the age of twenty, Jesse wanted to expand his horizons: he found himself in Fort St James, British Columbia, his native land, where he worked in a saw mill for about a year. There, he made friends with a group of Indigenous people, the Carrier, who live on a reserve next to Fort St James. In 2003, he worked in James Bay as foreman in a team of Cree men who were felling trees to clear the way for road construction. Jesse sees song as one of the best means to express one’s feelings. It’s also a great medium to communicate with people of different cultures.

Besides his artistic passion, Jesse studied to be a master electrician. He currently works in that field at the University of Calgary.


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