Review of Josh Groban
Josh Groban's meteoric rise to stardom began when hit producer David Foster selected him as a last-minute replacement at the dress rehearsal for the 1999 Grammy Awards, where the then-17-year-old singer stood in for Andrea Bocelli in a duet with Celine Dion. The rest, as they say, is history. But can the precocious baritone truly compete with the more seasoned powerhouses of the Classical Crossover scene? Groban's self-titled debut album validates Foster's prescience and proves that the young vocalist is more than able to hold his own. He moves confidently through an eclectic program with a poise that belies his youth and relative inexperience. He uses his warm voice to great effect in a variety of settings provided by veteran songwriters such as Richard Marx, Albert Hammond, Carole Bayer Sager, and Linda Thompson, among others. Highlights include a poignant reading of Don McLean's "Vincent," a dramatic account of the Neapolitan song "Canto Alla Vita" (featuring the Corrs), and a rock-anthem version of Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" (with Lili Haydn on violin), as well as "The Prayer," a soaring duet with fellow wunderkind Charlotte Church. With this debut, Groban delivers a crowd-pleasing effort that marks the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a stellar career.