Tom Jones the Musical Demo Sessions
I recently got back from NYC where I recorded several demos for my new show Tom Jones the Musical. I’m doing a series of posts as sort of a behind the scenes look at the sessions. The other posts are: Kerry Butler and Dan DeLuca recording “About You;” Anissa Felix and Josh Tolle recording “Digging a Hole in the Ground” and Janine LaManna, Anissa Felix and Cullen Titmas recording “Harlot Jenny Jones.”
Me and Jay, our engineer extraordinaire, trying to look busy.
The song “London Town” happens in the second act. We’ve spent the first act and part of the second act in the British countryside but then all of the action moves to London. I wanted the sound and the feel of the music to change here. Most of the songs leading up to this moment have a Beatles and Herman’s Hermits quality to them. But I felt the music should become more sophisticated in London. More of a Petula Clark or Sandie Shaw feel to them. I wanted a lush sound, as if Burt Bacharach arranged them.
So I took my little homemade demo to my friend Paul Mirkovich who is doing all of the arrangements for the songs. I told him what I wanted and he knew exactly what I meant. We work well together. We’ve been friends for years and have a shorthand when it comes to these kind of things. What he did with it is amazing. Beyond what I imagined.
“London Town” is sung by Lady Bellaston, a socialite and ravenous cougar. She has her eyes set on Tom. During the song Tom goes from country boy to fashionable boy toy. I envisioned seeing the change happen on stage. Listening to the song I can see it all happening.
I immediately thought of Janine LaManna to sing this song. Not just because she’s a ravenous cougar but because her voice is perfect for this song. Back in 2003 she did The Look of Love, musical revue of the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. She would kill this song.
Janine LaManna dreaming of pizza.
My love for Janine knows no bounds and I was ecstatic that she was going to do it.
The key Paul and I recorded the song in wasn’t good for Janine, however. To get her money notes, we needed to do something about the key. But since we had already recorded the instruments, our choices were limited. Move the key too much and all of the instruments sound wonky. Also we had to be wary of what a move would do for Adam Kaplan, who was singing Tom. Move it too much and he’d be straining for the notes.
We ended up moving the key one step up. We got it into Janine’s sweet spot and Adam nailed his part.
Adam was referred to me by my friend John Brady. They had been in Newsies together and John thought he’d be great for the project. He was right.
I didn’t get a picture of Adam. Why, I don’t know. But this is what he looks like. He strikes this pose all the time.
Adam had just come off the Kinky Boots tour, where he played Charlie, so I was fortunate to get him. Adam came in the day after Janine recorded her part and he was fantastic. And he’s a tremendously sweet guy. But don’t tell him I said that.
To give you an idea of the genius of Paul Mirkovich and what an amazingly talented musician can do, here’s my demo of London Town. It took Paul about four (leisurely) hours to make the song what it is now.
A snippet from my demo:
And here’s the demo we did in NYC:
The great photos of everyone are courtesy Nathan Gregory. The pics are pulled from the video he shot of the recording.