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Tribute pays homage to George Harrison

Beatlemania will always conjure images of hysterical girls and The Fab Four’s shaggy haircuts and skinny suits.

But ask Jeff Hart and Toby Roan who comes to mind first when they think of The Beatles and it’s a man nicknamed the “Quiet Beatle” — George Harrison and his first solo album, the three-disc epic All Things Must Pass.

It’s their love for Harrison and the album that will bring about 40 local musicians together to perform it this Saturday at Cat’s Cradle.

Hart, a Carrboro singer-songwriter and Roan, who works with communications firm 9th Floor, both have special relationships with the record.

Roan recently reconnected with the album while driving his mother to Winston-Salem for chemotherapy. Harrison’s own mother was dying of cancer at the time the album was being written.

“All of a sudden, one day, this record I’ve heard hundreds and hundreds of times just started saying something totally different to me,” Roan said.

The idea for the show began last November, while Hart was giving guitar lessons to Roan’s daughter. Roan said the two friends began “geeking out” over the record.

“All Things Must Pass is just a landmark record,” said Roan. “It’s the first three-record set in rock ‘n’ roll, and at one point it was the most successful of all The Beatles’ solo work.”

Hart and Roan had each thought about performing the album live. Roan decided to make the concert a cancer benefit. If Hart handled the music side, he would handle public relations. Hart sent messages to local musicians to see if they would play the album.

“The response was immediate,” said Hart. “In a week I had an entire band put together.”

Hart started with himself on guitar, a drummer and a bass player, continuing to add pieces until he had an 18-piece house band.

“We’re staying pretty close to the album’s sound,” Hart said. “In fact, I think we’re in the original key for every song except one.”

All proceeds from the show are going to The Caring Community Foundation, an organization based in Cary that raises money for cancer patients who are struggling financially as a result of their disease.

“That was one of the things we wanted to do — Triangle musicians helping out people in the Triangle who are dealing with cancer,” said Roan.

“I think people will be really impressed by the horns, the choir, the pedal steel and the attention to detail,” said Hart.

And with all these elements in place, the benefit is poised to bring the understated Beatle’s music and mantra for the forefront.

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