Slow down the holiday season

PIANIST JIM BRICKMAN AT STAMBAUGH

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

Anyone who is ready for a respite from the stress and hustle-bustle of the holiday season will find it next week when Jim Brickman brings his Christmas concert tour to Stambaugh Auditorium.

The pianist with the distinctively full and warm sound will perform carols, classics and some of his original songs at the show.

Brickman is the best-selling solo pianist of his era, earning 21 No. 1 albums and 32 top 20 radio singles, according to Billboard.

He’s garnered two Grammy nominations, gospel music’s Dove Award, two SESAC Songwriter of the Year Awards, and the Canadian Country Music Award.

The Shaker Heights native also has a scholarship named for him at his alma mater, the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Brickman started playing piano at age 5. As an adult, he jumped from a career as an advertising jingle writer, to reviving the romantic standard in popular music. Beginning with his debut album, 1995’s “No Words,” he has sold eight million albums worldwide.

Who: Jim Brickman holiday tour

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20

Where: Stambaugh Auditorium,, 1000 Fifth Ave., Youngstown

Tickets: $25, $35 and $45 at stambaughauditorium.com, by phone at 330-259-0555 and at the box office

He’s also written three best-selling books, starred in four TV concert specials, and is in the 20th season of hosting the popular syndicated radio show: “The Jim Brickman Show.”

His annual holiday tour is in its 22nd year.

At the heart of Brickman’s songwriting are themes of hope, faith and peace.

“I write music to be shared – to soothe, to inspire, to celebrate, to love. To me, music is the pure and simple soundtrack to life’s most memorable moments.”

Brickman’s music is typically classified as New Age, but the pianist disagrees.

“I consider my sound ‘solo instrumental pop music’,” he said, although he does sing a bit in concert.

“I think of my melodies as a reaffirmation of idealism and romanticism. My career is modeled after people like Burt Bacharach and Quincy Jones, who are known as composers, but also performers.

Brickman’s songs are a reflection of the world – nature, love, people and spirituality – while his musical influences are rooted in a’70s singer-songrwiters, including Joni Mitchell, Carole King, the Carpenters and Bacharach.

“I try not to work too hard creating a melody,” he said. “I just let it flow naturally.