PS Classics will release the debut album of Matthew Scott (An American in Paris, Sondheim on Sondheim)'s solo show The Jesus Year: a letter from my dad May 19. Get a first listen to a track from the release, with Scott singing William Finn's "I Went Fishing With My Dad," above.
Scott draws inspiration for the show from his father, who began writing a letter to his four young sons when he turned 33 (his so-called "Jesus Year") and was facing the distinct possibility that he wouldn't see his children grow up. The letter, with life lessons covering such topics as sex, communication, and spirituality, wasn't found until after his death, when Scott was just 13 years old. This letter, along with anecdotes from Scott's life and a collection of pop and Broadway songs, became Scott's solo show, which he's performed at Merkin Hall, Connecticut's O'Neill Center, and 54 Below.
"I began writing this show for my father, who passed when I was just a boy," says Scott in a statement. "Without ever telling me or my three older brothers, he spent years writing us letters and tucking them away in his rolltop desk. One year after his passing, we stumbled upon them and were once again connected to our dad. In the midst of working on this piece, I too became a father. Not once. But twice! This show is my gift to my boys, and this album is my letter to them. I hope you enjoy it."
Joe Calarco directs, with music director Vadim Feichtner at the piano for the album. The upcoming release also features expanded arrangements written for the recording by John Baxindine.
"We first worked with Matt on the original Broadway cast recording of Sondheim on Sondheim. We were so enamored of his talent that we asked him to do several other studio-based recordings with us, including our Jerome Kern album The Land Where the Good Songs Go and our Noël and Cole," adds PS Classics Executive Producer Tommy Krasker.
"Back in 2019, Matt and I had talked about working on his debut album; when I saw him perform The Jesus Year two years later, I told him this needed to be that album," Krasker continues. "As I always say, you only get one chance to make a first album—you only get one chance to make a ‘first impression’—and the show is so moving, and his voice so stunning on this material, it quite takes your breath away. We’ve added the instruments for the recording, but kept the intimacy and the sense of Matt sharing his story with the audience, in this case the listener. My goal was to create something just as affecting as the live show, but more richly textured. This is the kind of show that not merely draws crowds, but makes them cry."
Take a look at the full track listing of The Jesus Year below:
1. "Prologue: Oh, Very Young"
2. "The World According to Snoopy"
3. "I Went Fishing With My Dad"
4. “A yellow legal pad…”
5. "Oh, Very Young"
6. “My mom and dad met when they were just kids…”
7. "Our Day Will Come"
8. “My older brothers were popular…”
9. "Captain Jack"
10. “I never got the whole birds and the bees speech…”
11. "You’re My Home"
12. “The 33rd year of life…”
13. "There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You"
14. “I’ve got a crisis at work…”
15. "Dreams Go By"
17. “The 20 minute drive to the hospital…”
18. "When the Earth Stopped Turning"
19. “I feel balls…”
20. "Calico Skies"
21. "Children Will Listen"