In May, actress and producer Rita Wilson will release her solo album debut "AM/FM" on Decca Records. It's an intimate, elegant and beautifully sung collection of classics from the ‘60s and ‘70s that together, Wilson said, make up the soundtrack to her life.
"AM/FM" contains 14 tracks, carefully curated by Wilson along with producer Fred Mollin. Wilson, editor-at-large for Huff/Post50, is best known for her acting roles in more than two dozen films and numerous television programs. She was the driving force behind "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and produced the film musical "Mamma Mia!" Wilson also starred as Roxie Hart on Broadway in the musical "Chicago." A lifelong passion for music brought her many talents full circle to deliver an album release that is an extremely personal endeavor. She chose songs that resonated emotionally with her, that told a story and evoked the era of the '60s and '70s.
"That time period was hugely influential on me as a kid and as a teenager," she said. "I'd spend hours and hours lying on my bed, holding up the albums, reading the liner notes, and learning all the words to these songs that expressed what I was feeling or fantasizing about."
The album is essentially divided into two sections. The first half, "AM," features songs from the '60s that Wilson remembers singing along to on AM radio while riding in the back seat of her parents' car and that recall the "lovely innocence and hopefulness of the time": "All I Have To Do Is Dream," "Never My Love," "Cherish," "Come See About Me," "Angel Of The Morning," "Walking In The Rain," "Wichita Lineman" (written by Jimmy Webb who also plays piano on Wilson's version), and "You Were On My Mind."
By the time Wilson got her own car (a Datsun 2000 Roadster) at age 17, popular music lived on FM radio. She became enamored with the folk-rock singer-songwriters who dominated those airwaves in the early '70s and her favorite songs make up the "FM" half: "Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues," "Love Has No Pride," "Please Come To Boston," "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," "Faithless Love," and "River."
"As I got older, I began to understand that not everything had a happy ending," Wilson said, "so I was drawn to songs by women who wrote about how love was not always the dream fantasy; that there was pain and disappointment involved."
AM/FM was recorded last spring at the legendary Capitol Records Studio A in Hollywood. The album features appearances by special guests Chris Cornell, Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Webb, Jackson Browne, Faith Hill, Vince Gill, and Patty Scialfa (who also produced "Come See About Me").
Check out the video below, in which Wilson talks about the making of AM/FM.