Josh Goban's Noel, a collection of traditional Christmas music with a time-honored feel and rich orchestration, was released on the Reprise record label October 9.
This is an eclectic mix of traditional hymns and carols, with only two songs straying from that overall theme. The holiday favorite "I'll be Home For Christmas" is given a contemporary, yet desperate sound as messages to and from those serving in the armed services are weaved between the verses and choruses. Grobin's deep passionate voice only adds to the gloomy feel of someone who is far away from the ones he loves during the holidays.
The second traditional but secular song is "The Christmas Song," in which Groban delivers a holiday greeting in a sedate way that I think only he can pull off. If any other artist would try to slow the tempo to this pace, it would be disastrous, but he is able to deliver it with enough emotion to pull it off.
The die-hard Groban fan will be particularly pleased with the CD; he stays completely true to form and offers no real surprises or out of characteristic turns. His full baritone voice blends beautifully with the intricate and complex arrangements as he delivers an album of reflective praise and meditative worship. Whether he's singing the better known "Silent Night" or "The First Noel," or the lesser known "Petit Papa Noel" or "Panis Angelicus" the album as a whole will serve as the perfect accompaniment to your holiday party or tree trimming and package wrapping activities.
A personal stand out track for me is the second track, "Little Drummer Boy." A favorite of mine from the time I was a child, Groban has a way of putting just enough polish on the classic to make it his own, without tampering with the classic and familiar feel of the song. There are no bells are whistles to the album, but there is beautiful music that will put you in the Christmas spirit and help you relax after a stressful day of holiday shopping, reminding you what the season is truly about.
In a recent press release, Groban commented on the subject of the remix of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" as well as the tone of the entire album. "I was inspired by all the Christmases I've been fortunate enough to celebrate with my family over the last 26 years. I was committed to making a classic Christmas album yet one that sounded different than anything that's been heard on a holiday record. David Foster and I were passionate about creating the perfect collection of songs."
Look for Josh Groban to make an appearance on the The Oprah Winfrey Show in November as well as NBC's Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center November 28th and Good Morning America November 30th. News and information as well as upcoming appearances and tour dates can be found at the artists official website and his Myspace profile.