The New ‘Book Club’ Anthem by Steenburgen, Fonda, Keaton, and Bergen
For Mary Steenburgen, dreams don’t have an age limit. So, the longtime actress and songwriter is fulfilling one of her lifelong dreams with the release of “Anywhere With You,” a collaborative song co-written with Troy Verges and Caitlyn Smith and recorded with the help of a few recognizable friends: co-stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, and Candice Bergen. Released Monday, the song was inspired by Steenburgen’s upcoming and highly anticipated sequel Book Club: The Next Chapter — and she exclusively tells Rolling Stone the track is an homage to her life-changing friendships with the three women.
“One of my favorite things to do is write for movies and television. Because as an actor, I love exploring the ideas and the stories of whatever that project is solving the fascinating puzzle of how to to make that into music,” Steenburgen says. “We took a few of those themes, which are really friendship and a sense of wonder and a sense of adventure, and I basically wrote a love song to my three friends.”
The four women worked with vocal coach Tom Burke, practicing in both private sessions and a group jam at Steenburgen’s house (and on piano). When they were ready, with Fonda recording from New York, Keaton, Bergen, and Steenburgen recorded “Anywhere With You” in the studio of Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. Steenburgen tells Rolling Stone that recording the song was an exercise in pushing herself — something she says makes her better at her craft.
“Everybody was a little nervous because it’s right outside of our comfort zone. Especially Jane and Candice. But they’re also deeply willing and don’t say no to any adventure, whatever it is, especially if it’s creative,” Steenburgen says. “My friends, Caitlin is one of them, [Tony-nominated actor] Alex Newell is another, those are voices to me that as a songwriter I love creating for. Voices that are better than mine, frankly. But I sometimes love to push myself and sing and I don’t want to say no to anything. That’s how you grow.”
While Steenburgen is humble enough to characterize herself as a “basic garden-variety” singer, music has been a touchstone of her career for almost 30 years. In 2019, the song “Glasgow (No Place Like Home),” which she also co-wrote with Smith, was shortlisted for the Oscar for Best Original Song. And for the past 17 years, when she isn’t busy being an Oscar winning-accordion-playing Hollywood darling, she’s also been a devoted songwriter. But she tells Rolling Stone she felt it was important that she, Keaton, Fonda, and Bergen be the ones to sing the song because of the message it represents.
“We are not young. And one of the reasons why I wanted us to sing the song rather than some gorgeous, beautiful young voices is because very often there’s this sort of unconscious acceptance of dreams having shelf lives,” Steenburgen says. “We’re all at an age where those shelf lives are either here or rapidly approaching. For me, the biggest problem with that is not just a problem for me, it’s a problem for how I see the lives of my three daughters and my three granddaughters. I want them to be every bit as alive at 70, which is what I am. And we have to model that. Because if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.”
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