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Cameron Crowe, Tom Kitt on 'Almost Famous' Cast Recording, Liner Notes – Rolling Stone

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it took cameroon Crowe and Tom Kitt say the same word to end their friendship: “Yes.” It was January 2018, and the filmmaker and Broadway composer were co-writing a musical adaptation of Crowe’s classic 2000 film almost Famous. “The conversation was like, ‘What are the great ‘yes’s’ in rock?’” Crowe recalls. “He used to force me to go home to the cloud every day after we collaborated.”

Crowe cited some important “Yeah” moments from his heroes Tom Petty and Neil Young, while Kitt references “I’m the One”, which he composed for 2009 next to normal (He received two Tonys and a Pulitzer Prize for drama). Together, they wrote “1973,” a beautiful concoction of the triumphant “Yeah” that kicks off the musical. this is the opening track Almost Famous: The MusicalOriginal Broadway Cast Recording of, out today.

“It was finding someone who was led by their musical heart, and we immediately branched out and flew off in all these different directions who loved music,” says Crowe. “I had no real experience other than sitting in the audience and loving plays and musicals. But he showed me, almost immediately, that musical theater — and even regular theater — isn’t that different when you love music and you just want to be a part of that world. almost Famous It was always an effort to capture that feeling.

Cast recording was cut in November 2022 at the iconic Power Station in New York, which Crowe compared to “early Beatles sessions, where they just sing 12 songs a day and go to the pub.” Highlights include musical originals such as “Morocco”, where Penny Lane fantasises about living for a year because, as Kate Hudson says in the film, she “needs a new crowd.”

Kitt used Linda Ronstadt for inspiration when writing the song. “Her voice cuts right through you, and I think she’s Penny Lane, especially in that moment,” he says. “That’s why I loved the idea of ​​getting a chance to make it a musical because of the film. I remember it was like a flash of lightning when he said this. It’s a moment in her life when she was flying so high and over the top, and then she expresses the idea that she wants to go somewhere else and find a new crowd. What is the feeling behind it? This is where the musical theater resides.

almost Famous The musical ended its run on Broadway in January, but Crowe and Kitt see recording the cast as a way to let the musical live on. Who knows, maybe someday there will be a touring production. “We had that Broadway experience and that’s another chapter,” says Kitt. “What’s the next chapter? As I said to Cameron, the day I get to work almost Famous It’s a nice day for me. We are ready for whatever the future life holds.”

Crowe throws it back to that famous rock term: “hell Yes.,

Read Crowe’s full liner notes for the cast recording below.

There’s something about a Tom Kitt song. It’s honest and personal in rare ways, always with a kind of magic. A Tom Kitt song is like a close friend whispering in your ear, telling you an unexpected secret. As anyone who’s worked with Tom knows, you’ll go home with his tunes looping in your head. You should be asleep, but what’s really happening is that the songs are doing their job, signaling your subconscious to see more and feel more.

Our work together began soon after our first meeting in producer Leah Wollack’s office. almost Famous Definitely the most personal part of my writing and directing. I had never done a sequel or revisited any of my projects before. it was tom’s heart almost Famous – What it’s like to be a fan of music—and life itself—which immediately inspired me to tap into her enthusiasm and learn how to bring our story to the stage in musical form. From Elton John to The Who to T. Rex and Stephen Sondheim, we shared many of the same influences. Our conversation was filled with musical shorthand.

We started our songwriting sessions in the “Red Room” on the 28th floor of the Sony Building. It’s a rich environment, with a resonant Steinway piano and a wrap-around photographic mural of Glenn Gould. Because almost Famous While an autobiographical story, Kitt suggests we explore the true stories that inspired the film. He wanted to hear the real stuff, the pain and heartbreak and joy, the deep-tissue nature of our family dynamic. I often went home and wrote long memoirs for him. He would later invite input from my sister Cindy as well, who heroically nectared music by sharing her exciting and well-curated secret album collection with me. (According to the story of the musical and film, rock was banned in our house by our teacher mother because of her obsession with “drugs and promiscuous sex”.) From that material came the lyrics and musical rhythms that would become the basis of rock. Almost Famous: The Musical, Director Jeremy Herrin and I would sometimes watch Kitt sit at that Red Room piano, usually with his eyes closed, searching for melodies that captured the emotion of the story. Like an actor playing a period piece, he’ll weave fresh ideas into melodies that just might fool you. They seemed like forgotten gems from the early seventies of our story.

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Cameron Crowe and Tom Kitt

Nina Westervelt*

Our first round of successes came in January of 2018. I told Tom that as a child, I fell in love with the Sondheim song “Barcelona.” company. I loved the pleasurable quality, the happy/sad feeling that comes with the push and pull of romantic attraction. One day he played us a new song, “Morocco,” a painful and beautiful composition that became our “Barcelona.” It was Penny Lane’s first solo single in the musical. I knew we were on the right track. Others followed, including heartwarming and hilarious songs for Ellen Miller, the fearful teacher-mom from our story’s protective rock. “She Knows Too Little (And I Know Too Much)” shows Kit’s spotlight on authentic emotion, it really captures the spirit of the original solicitous conversation I had with my real mother who of course did. No Want to take me on tour with Led Zeppelin before I graduate high school? (The song was a highlight of our sold-out Off-Broadway run at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego. Although trimmed for the subsequent Broadway run.) Almost Famous: The MusicalIt’s happily included here.)

Our baby-steps had turned into sprints. Those early sessions produced “The Night Time Skies’s Got Nothing on You,” “New Day Coming,” “Everybody’s Coming Together,” and a tour-de-force song with special hometown significance for Kitt, “Lost in New York City.” ” One of my very favorites, “No Friends,” also popped up early on. Talk about niche! Kit provided an anthem for the professional dilemma of journalists, especially our teen writer William. What happens when you unfriend the subjects of your so-called neutral profile?

Another breakthrough was the arrival of “1973”, our earliest tribute to the music, partly born out of conversation about what is arguably the most important term in rock lyricism – “Yes,

We soon found actors who would bring these songs alive on stage. It was a murderer’s row of young veterans and newcomers. Solia Phifer, Casey Lykes, Anika Larson, Rob Colletti, Colin Donnell, Van Hughes, Daniel Sovitch, Gerard Canonico, Drew Gehling, Matt Bittner, Brandon Contreras, Katie Ladner, Julia Cassandra, Emily Schultheis, Libby Winters, Matthew Yee, Storm Leaver , and Sam Gravitte all traveled to San Diego for the next step in the development of our show. Everyone will remember the words and tunes with the passion of true music lovers. At the end of our show, all of them will shine with their contribution. It was Tom’s idea to bring all the characters back at the end for “Fever Dog Booze,” where once-skeptics Elaine Miller and Lester Bangs also made enthusiastic contributions that kept the audience on their feet late into the night.

Following our San Diego run, we added Chris Wood as Russell Hammond, Dejean Jackson aka Polexia Aphrodisia, and Jakeem Hart as Manager Dennis Hope. We headed to Broadway with the ensemble cast largely intact, and went on stage. Our raucous opening night reception had us less than pleased with Joni Mitchell’s third line, applauding her use of her own timeless song, “River,” along with “Lost in New York.”

That feeling led us to a late fall marathon session for our original cast recording at the Power Station in New York. Everyone was there, the performers, the swing, our show band full of masters and our treasured Music Director/Keyboard Conductor Brian Perry, Associate Conductor and Keyboard Conductor/Music-Leader Dan Green, with assistant Nick Connors. Producer Scott Risett brought his sonic touch, as did Sony Senior VP Scott Farthing. Led by Tom Kitt, we rocked through 17 tracks including covers of “Simple Man,” “Ramble On,” “The Wind,” “Tiny Dancer,” and more. Full versions of some of our original songs are included here. (There’s also an Easter egg to include, one of our favorite outtakes, Solia’s “Anything Possible.”) The cast and band recorded in rooms throughout the studio. That night, home of a million hits, pumping with the famous power station Our Songs. on every floor.

the passion and brotherhood of Almost Famous: The Musical Alive in these tracks. So here’s to those magical nights and afternoons on stage, thank you to everyone who helped make the show happen with all their heart. When our marathon cast recording session was over and nearly everyone had left, I stayed behind in the main studio room at the Power Station. What remained was the silent echo of human warmth, dedication and the answer to a simple question. what i love about us almost Famous family, and this group of artists who will come together to sing our songs, play these parts, and tell our story about life, love, family, and music? ,

Everything.