When it comes to music, I would consider myself quite eclectic, although that has taken more of a hit in recent years. With the revolutionary Ipod, podcasts and things like Sirius radio and Pandora at the fingertips, the communal experience known as the radio has gone a bit by the wayside. Surely my daughters are screaming for 99.7 when Sirius is not locked on channel 79 (any guesses as to what that channel is?), but for the most part, I am entrenched inside an Ipod or some sports radio.
My Christmas music tends to follow right along with my normal listening patterns. I love the comfort food of Nat King Cole, the cultural pulse of Poncho Sanchez cranking out “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” full of timbales and congas, and the sharp tones of B.B. King’s faithful guitar Lucille in his rendition of “Merry Christmas Baby.” In the sea of shopping madness and endless commercials of cars with bows given to people who look only mildly pleased, a good Christmas tune is an oasis of bliss, a reminder of the purpose of the season.
Ian Patrick Gibb’s new holiday album, “The Time of Year for Miracles,” is a joyfully inspired croonfest, a talented young singer who boasts a silky smooth sound, hitting his notes with precision and technique. I first saw Gibb this past summer when he understudied for Marius in the national tour of “Les Miserables” at the Orpheum Theatre. While his acting in the role wasn’t always the most connected, his vocals certainly ruled the day, as he gently moved through the show’s signature moments with an authentic, youthful timbre.
The album only features six songs, a few new, and a few ubiquitous standards that allow for a veritable showcase of Gibb’s gentle baritone range. The album also features full orchestrations throughout the album, beautifully arranged by orchestrator Rick McKee and musical director Will Curry.
Each of the six tracks is quite solid. “Time of Year for Miracles” is a song which reaches deep for the nostalgia of the holiday season. “Christmas Waltz,” featuring Michelle Amato, is a much simpler tune, focusing more on the toe-tapping melody written by legendary composer Sammy Kahn. “O Holy Night” is a standard that is probably the primary showcase of Gibb’s vocal range, with a strong belt at the conclusion. And “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” goes along the lines of the great versions in history, an indelibly beautiful, heartbreaking standard covered wonderfully by Gibb.
Christmas songs fall into many categories, and this collection does everything to contribute to a heartwarming Christmas. Gibb is quite a performer, showcasing a wide range of talents and abilities in this holiday set. It’s a great collection for tonight’s dinner and beyond.
To purchase Gibb’s “The Time of Year for Miracles,” go to his official website. The album is also available on Itunes and Amazon.com.