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Bob Dylan‘s forgotten lyrics have made their way to Hollywood.
Showtime invited guests for cocktails and a screening of the documentary Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued, where T Bone Burnett spent two weeks secluding himself with prominent musicians of different ages and genres to record 43 adaptations of lyrics and drawings rediscovered years later by Dylan himself from his 1967 recordings at Woodstock.
Burnett aspires to bring back the period when Dylan’s Woodstock recordings influenced the same creative process with prominent bands such as The Beatles. With Dylan’s blessing, Burnett recruited Elvis Costello, Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) and Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops) for the album Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes. Although it was their first time working together as a group, the musicians ditched the formal recording process to see what creative results could stem from simply making music without expectations.
“I’m a musician, and I spent many years trying to emulate the idea of friends getting together in a basement plying music,” director Sam Jones told The Hollywood Reporter. “The basement tapes started that trend of we don’t have to be in a recording studio. We can be in a house or we can be in a cabin in the woods, and we can record. I love that aesthetic and that idea, so I was in the minute they asked.”
Friends of Jones, including Cindy Crawford and her husband, Rande Gerber, along with Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims came to CAA to support him.
Showtime executive vp original programming Gary Levine expressed that one of the challenges during production was deciding which of the three or four versions of each song would be included in the documentary. “I don’t think it’s exaggerating to say it’s one of the most unusual collaborations in the history of pop music,” said Levine.
Levine stated that the next documentary that will be commissioned features the life of actor Marlon Brando, which will be narrated from audio tapes by Brando himself.
The screening was followed by a private concert at the Montalban Theater in Hollywood, where the artists performed the new basement tapes live for the first time. They were later joined onstage by Johnny Depp for a “psychedelic hoedown.”
Masters of Sex couple Sarah Silverman and Michael Sheen also attended the concert for date night. “It was unbelievable,” Silverman told THR. “One of the greatest nights of my life.”
Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued airs Nov. 21 on Showtime.