Rita Wilson is pairing with classic songs and legendary singers for the aptly titled Now & Forever: Duets, an album of ’70s covers out Sept. 27 on Sing It Loud/The Orchard.
Among her all-male collaborators on her fifth studio album are Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Jackson Browne and Elvis Costello, who pair with the actress/singer on tunes that resonated deeply with Wilson during her formative years.
“I wanted to honor where I came from with songs from the Seventies. It was really about showing enormous appreciation for the songwriting of that period—how these songs are still relevant even though they’re 50 years old,” Wilson said in a statement. “This album is really a continuation of sharing who I am musically, and what it is that I want to say.”
In the trailer for the album (below), Wilson further elucidates what the ’70s meant to her musically, calling the material from that time her equivalent of the Great American Songbook. “I think I grew up in one of the best eras for music ever because we had such a huge variety and so many different people expressing themselves in so many different ways,” she says.
Instead of having some of the titans duet with her on their own songs from that decade, Wilson and her partners pair on other seminal tracks, such as Wilson and Robinson singing Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s “Where Is the Love” and Nelson joining Wilson for Paul Simon’s “Slip Slidin’ Away.”
Produced by Wilson and Grammy Award-winning producer Matt Rollings, the album took shape during the pandemic after Wilson had been contemplating the concept for years. Nelson was the first artist to sign on, with artists including Keith Urban and Tim McGraw joining the roster as well. Earlier this summer, Wilson and Josh Groban unveiled their silky re-imagining of “Songbird,” including performing the Fleetwood Mac classic at Radio City Music Hall.
The noted actress, who has appeared at Stagecoach, the Ryman and Sydney Opera House, released her first album, AM/FM, in 2012.
Rita Wilson’s Now & Forever: Duets track list:
“Crazy Love” with Keith Urban
“Where Is The Love?” with Smokey Robinson
“Slip Slidin’ Away” with Willie Nelson
“Let It Be Me” with Jackson Browne
“Massachusetts” with Leslie Odom Jr.
“Fire” with Elvis Costello
“If” with Tim McGraw
“I’ll Be There” with Jimmie Allen
“Without You” with Vince Gill
“Songbird” with Josh Groban