Okay, all you naysayers out there. I have officially seen Josh Groban in concert and it was one of my all-time best musical experiences. Even if you think his songs are too saccharine, you cannot avoid the power of his voice. From the soft high notes to the belting out of choruses, I would find it nearly impossible to believe that you could leave one of his concerts without being moved in some way. His enthusiasm and energy onstage in infectious, as is his great love for his fans.
My first exposure to him was hearing his first album. I liked it but wasn’t completely won over. My big turning point was seeing him perform “You Raise Me Up” at the Super Bowl (the infamous Janet Jackson year). After that, I went back and listened to his CDs (by this point “Closer” had come out), and I was hooked. Slowly but surely, his music is evolving past “popera” ballads. He has started writing his own songs and collaborating with a wide range of accomplished artists (Deep Forest, Dave Matthews). He also makes Italian music accessible, a la Andrea Bocelli, but to a younger crowd.
He isn’t the Beatles, he isn’t Frank Sinatra, but he’s good. Really, really good. So give him a try (see below), and decide for yourself. Below please find my Crash Course in Josh Groban.
Closer: His sophomore album. This is probably my favorite.
1) Remember When It Rained
2) You Raise Me Up
4) Broken Vow
Awake: His most recent album, and the one that he is on tour promoting. He is widening his musical scope, as well as touching upon important issues around the world.
1) In Her Eyes
2) February Song
3) You Are Loved
4) L’Ultima Notte
Josh Groban: The very first album. He was a teenager when he recorded it, but already his voice has a maturity to it that carries through all of the songs.
1) You’re Still You
2) To Where You Are
3) Home To Stay
4) Canto Alla Vita
Josh Groban Live At the Greek: In this concert (the last of his Closer tour), he is at ease with the material and with the thousands of fans who packed the Greek Theater in Griffith Park (Los Angeles, California) to hear him sing. “You Raise Me Up” is a grand, grand finale to a diverse and enjoyable concert.
Josh Groban in Concert: Josh’s version of “O Holy Night” is one of the best I’ve ever heard (sorry, N’SYNC), but the DVD of his concert is the real treat. It’s a little over four years old now, so this is early Josh. He is much more inhibited on stage, but he has an endearing wide-eyed innocence about him. Special guests include his mentor, music producer David Foster, and Angie Stone (who joins him in a version of “The Prayer”).
With You: This was a special album that Hallmark put out around Valentine’s Day this year. It includes some old favorites (“You’re Still You,” “Mi Morena”), but also has two brand new ones: “With You” and “My Heart Was Home Again.” A nice sampler.
Photos courtesy of amazon.com