Who knew Leighton Meester was such a talented musician? When the Gossip Girl actress teamed up with her friend Dana Williams to cover the hit Fleetwood Mac song Dreams, the two turned out to be a match made in harmony heaven as they sang the familiar notes of the song. Not only did the actress show off her beautiful voice, she also displayed her hitherto unknown guitar skills as both she and Williams provided the backing music to their folksy interpretation of the classic, while Maxwell Drummey accompanied them on percussion. Both Meester and Williams give lead performances for one half of the song while providing backing vocals for the other half. The harmonies are beautiful and effective and give the song an ethereal quality quite different from the original.
Although Meester is an established actress, she has publicised her vocal talents before, appearing on the soundtrack to the country drama film, Country Strong, in 2010. She has also collaborated with various artists, including the notorious Robin Thicke on her first single track Somebody to Love. Recently, Meester provided vocals for Cobra Starships song, Good Girls Go Bad, which reached number seven on the Billboard chart as well as singing a duet with Tony Bennett. However, this recent song by Meester is a departure from the previous style of music mentioned above. Her cover of Fleetwood Mac’s popular tune is sung with more of a folk music vibe, and both the arrangement and the notes she hits are as dreamy as the title of the track itself. Although the actress had planned to release an album in 2010 there were numerous delays and in the end it just did not come out at all. However, she subsequently went on tour with the band Check in the Dark, in 2012, and is reported to have said she really enjoyed writing music with her influences being artists Joni Mitchell and Neil Young.
Meester’s cover of the well-known track from Fleetwood Mac’s best-selling album Rumours, comes after the recent announcement that the band will be reconvening and going on tour after 15 years of separation. The keyboardist, Christine McVie, originally left the band in 1998 after 30 years together. In between then and now the only time she has rejoined her former band mates was during their performance at London’s O2 arena last year.
The band was wracked with rumors of tension and discord during their time together, partly due to the two relationships within the band and the songs that were written in response to them. Many of their biggest hits served as documentation of the deteriorating and bitter nature of the break ups which occurred during their most successful years as the marriage between Christine McVie and bassist John McVie ended along with the long-term romantic involvement of vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. Even Mick Fleetwood endured a divorce of his own while in the band. Now in their seventies perhaps the sexual tensions will be less pronounced and the music will be the central focus for the band.
Their On With The Show tour is set to begin on the 30th of September of this year so the release of a new interpretation of one of their classic songs could be a case of mutual publicity. There is no doubt that the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s hit Dreams by Leighton Meester has hit the mark perfectly for the announcement of their imminent musical revival.
Commentary by Rhona Scullion