Song: "Innocent When You Dream"
Written by: Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, Jalma Music (ASCAP)
Arranged by: Renato Ceron
Filmed, Directed and Edited by: Mike Neerhof
Intro Animation by: Nicholas Wenzel
I didn’t know what to expect when Renato Ceron, member of Chicago latin-fusion band A Flor de Piel, invited me over to his house to rehearse this song. I guess I figured it would be a quick review of the arrangement and I would be on my way. Instead, I walked in to what felt like a dream.
In from the cold, I was greeted by smiling faces, chirping birds, a rambunctious little dog named Shmoe, a living room spilling over with musicians and their beautiful music, and a plate full of homemade tamales fresh off of the stove. After indulging in tamales and a couple shots of mezcal, we got to work on the title track of this project, “Innocent When You Dream.”
From day one of planning for this project, I always envisioned this song as a mariachi waltz and Renato’s arrangement far-exceeded that vision. The playfulness of the strings and percussion paired with lyrics like “We were running through the graveyard, we laughed my friends and I, we swore we’d be together until the day we died,” get right to the heart of this song’s theme of innocence.
What I think Waits is saying in this song is that we all have to live with regrets; the heaviness of things said or done that will always stay with us. But dreams, if they're anything like the Ceron household on that cold winter night in Chicago, can often be the comfort of heart and mind that you’ve been looking for.