The magnetism of the year-end holidays goes hand in hand with the evocative musical output that has long defined pianist, composer and producer Jim Brickman and the much-lauded musician has done it again with his new recording for the holiday season, "HOMECOMING." Brickman who was recently crowned as the #1 Charting Artist at the Adult Contemporary radio format, created a multi-format musical confection collaborating with a diverse roster of guest performers such as Lonestar's Richie McDonald who is featured on the first single "Coming Home For Christmas"; the late Gerald Levert with one of his last vocal performances on the title track and jazz great Peter White and his distinctive guitar talents are showcased on "Joy." "HOMECOMING" is released September 25th on SLG Records (a unit of the Savoy Label Group).
"HOMECOMING," his 16th CD overall, differs from previous seasonal albums in that it has a more spiritual tone. The first single captures that feeling thanks to the contribution of Richie McDonald whose warm vocal brings a poignant emotion to "Coming Home For Christmas" (his collaboration with Brickman is his first project post-Lonestar). Brickman, McDonald and Victoria Shaw all collaborated as songwriters on "Coming Home For Christmas." The result is a gorgeous love letter of a song that captures the sentiment of being away from home and those you care about and anticipating a heartfelt reunion. A sample lyric reads: "When I think of you, I think of home/If I could make this plane go any faster, I'd be standing by your door." Just as Brickman's past collaborations with vocal stars such as Martina McBride (on the smash hit "Valentine") have resulted in incomparable chart success, "Coming Home For Christmas" looks to be the song of the season for Jim and Richie.
"I love doing holiday albums, because I find that I am never at a loss for material," Brickman says. "There are so many ways to interpret these familiar songs instrumentally. And the tone and sensibility of my music has always fit with the holiday season. It's such a joyous time of year, a time of gathering and emotional connection--and music is such a huge part of that."
The second vocal collaboration, title-track "HOMECOMING," is a duet with the late Gerald Levert. The two previously worked together on "My Angel," a track from the 2006 album ESCAPE. When the pair joined for "My Angel," Brickman suggested that they rework the song with a Christmas lyric. Unfortunately, Levert died in November 2006 at age 40, leaving "HOMECOMING" as one of his final vocal recordings.
The album also contains two original instrumental tracks, "Thanksgiving" featuring piano and strings, which conjures a fall family gathering; and "Bethlehem," a gentle, reflective hymnal. Instrumental covers include "I Heard the Bells," featuring Peter White on jazz guitar, "Joy" with David Klinkenberg on solo violin, and piano renditions of British carols "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "I Saw Three Ships," "Silent Night," album finale "Auld Lang Syne" and "Good King Wenceslas," an instrumental take on the age-old Christmas carol about a charitable king who offers the miracle of warmth through his footprints in the snow.
Since his 1994 debut album, "No Words," Brickman's signature romantic style has made him a marquis name among contemporary instrumental hit makers, selling six Gold and Platinum albums, and delivering three No. 1 and twelve Top 10 adult contemporary radio hits. Among his numerous accolades are a SESAC Songwriter of the Year award, Canadian Country Music Award for Best Vocal/Instrumental Collaboration, a Grammy nod for Best Pop Instrumental Album for "Peace" and a gospel Dove Award for "The Gift." He has had consistent No. 1 debuts on Billboard Magazine's New Age Albums chart and two No. 1s on Top Kid Audio.
Brickman has also collaborated on numerous vocal events with the likes of Martina McBride, Olivia Newton-John, Michael W. Smith, Jane Krakowski and Rebecca Lynn Howard, fostering crossover success on the country, Christian, contemporary jazz and smooth jazz singles charts.
As usual, Brickman will unwrap his latest melodic gifts with a robust holiday season tour, beginning Nov. 23 through the New Year, with nearly three dozen dates confirmed.