‘Magic of Christmas’: Jim Brickman brings holiday show to Stranahan TheaterWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Brickman’s sparkling piano playing is as synonymous with the season as softly falling snow.
Listen to “The Magic of Christmas.” Released last month, the disc features Brickman’s fine key work on 14 new recordings of holiday favorites and includes two new songs penned by the pianist.
Johnny Mathis, Megan Hilty and Sandi Patty are guest vocalists on the CD.
“I wanted the whole album to feel beautiful and nostalgic and have a quality to it that was extremely unique and timeless,” Brickman said. “And when I thought about as guests who that would be, I thought when you’re talking about timeless and classic Christmas, I can’t think of anybody more perfect and beautiful than Johnny.”
So began the quest.
“I was pretty tenacious in my pursuit of [Mathis] singing on the album,” Brickman said and laughed. The iconic crooner performs the pianist’s 2003 original, “Sending You a Little Christmas.”
In a rare recorded vocal, Brickman sings “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”
“I was going after the nostalgia, and I felt like the tone of what I did with that [song] fit with everything else,” he said. “Although I tease about the fact that it’s probably the only time you’ll ever hear Jim Brickman and Johnny Mathis singing on the same album.”
The Cleveland native is best-known for hits while collaborating with other artists: Martina McBride on “Valentine,” Collin Raye on “Peace” and “The Gift,” Rebecca Lynn Howard for “Simple Things,” Jane Krakowski on “You” and Lady Antebellum for “Never Alone.”
During a call before a show in Bloomington, Ill., the musician talked about being on the road for his 18th holiday tour.
“It’s become a tradition to gather not only in a community way to celebrate the antidote of the chaos of the holiday season, which is what I think this is. But also there’s a special quality which is why I call it ‘The Magic of Christmas.’ It’s a really special couple hours; it’s beautiful, but it’s also lighthearted. It’s very honest and it’s very authentic. We are who we are,” he said.
“And because [singer] Anne Cochran is there with me, and we have such an organic history of going to high school together and performing for our whole lives together, the audiences come to know there’s a very familial quality to [the show].”
Brickman will bring “The Magic of Christmas” to Stranahan Theater at 3 p.m. Dec. 22. Tickets are $28-$48.
Taking the stage with the pianist will be electric violinist Tracy Silverman and guitarist Luke McMaster.
“If you’re playing music in the background of something, I don’t care if you’re having a baby in the hospital or you use my music for trimming the tree, there has to be moments of silence as much as there has to be moments of sound,” Brickman said. “It gives people a chance to take it in, to breathe a little bit.
“And I don’t want it to be intrusive; I just want it to be beautiful. It’s made for the backdrop to moments.”
Fans can see Brickman at a meet-and-greet from 11 a.m. to noon Dec. 22 at Barnes & Noble, 1430 Secor Road. He and McMaster will play songs, field questions and sign autographs.