Josh Groban

Groban, after already having attained international superstardom, has decided to shake things up a bit on this his fifth album (sixth if you count "Noel" – last year's Christmas album). He brought in mega-producer Rick Rubin to work with him on "Illuminations". It was an interesting pairing up as Rubin had previously worked with the likes of Run DMC, Johnny Cash, Metallica, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Previously Groban has sung pop songs heavily influenced by his classical training. Now he uses his baritone to meld the two worlds of folk music and classical. Well, you didn't expect him to totally step out of his comfort zone, did you? The two musical genres make for an album that is at the same time intimate and grand, raw and powerful.

The music is quite timeless and personal as Groban himself co-wrote 11 of the 13 songs. The fact that this is a guy letting you into his head and heart allows for us to connect with him like never before. The other two were penned by none other than Nick Cave and a mother-son collaboration between Rufus Wainwright and Kate McGarrigle. The Wainwright and McGarrigle song is a must as it is the only time mother and son have written together.

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