Here we go again! Fresh off of one collaboration and a successful tour together in the winter with a few other friends, pianist Jim Brickman and guitarist/vocalist Luke McMaster are reunited and it feels so good. While McMaster has been promoting his latest release, the title track from his solo album All Roads, in Canada, the two were back in the studio crafting up this confection. It’s set to go to radio on July 8, and the song is called “Every Shade Of You”. It was first performed in March at Brickman’s Celebration Of The 70’s concert sponsored by Crystal Light with the hope that the beverage company would eventually pick it up in an advertising campaign. So, you may just be hearing it on the tube and on the airwaves in the coming months. First, a little background on our two fine gentlemen.
After charting on the Adult Contemporary radio survey for over fifteen years (beginning in 1996) with and without guest vocalists, 51-year-old Brickman found his next collaborator in 37-year-old McMaster, formerly of the Canadian duo McMaster & James. Though they had some initial success in Canada in 2000 and 2001, they parted ways soon afterwards and McMaster was involved in a few different projects in-between that and his time with the piano man. They seemed to hit it off real well, and their sessions together provided the two with the 2012 Adult Contemporary hit, “Good Morning Beautiful”. It was serviced to the format in September, while a Christmas-themed version, “Merry Christmas Beautiful”, was at radio a few weeks later just before some stations flipped to all-Christmas music in early November.
The strategy has become (almost) a yearly tradition for Brickman, which initially started in 2003 with a #1 chart single in “Sending You A Little Christmas”, a song featuring a vocal by Kristy Starling. Similar titles with vocals by Richie McDonald (of Lonestar) and Olivia Jade Archbold both charted in the top ten in 2007 and 2011, respectively. However, the idea of creating an original song that has nothing to do with the holidays with a Christmas version that will ultimately replace it during its run is a tricky concept, and he’s done it with Wayne Brady in 2005, Geoff Byrd in 2006 and Adam Crossley in 2009. It’s paid off; in each occurrence, the original version becomes a moderate success halfway into fall, and then, boom, it’s Christmas time and it’s in the top 5. “Good” turned “Merry” ended up peaking at #3. So, fair warning now, don’t be surprised if we get a “Every Shade Of Yule” edit in a few months. (Please don’t get any ideas, guys.)
Now, the song itself… “Every Shade Of You” is pretty cute, but it’s nothing new in the musical landscape. If Train‘s “Hey, Soul Sister” and “Rhythm Of Love” by the Plain White T’s had a love child, that’s basically this song in a nutshell. I realize that description is oversimplifying it a little bit, but listen to the song and you’ll understand where I’m coming from. It’s a breezy tune about a guy who paints a virtual picture of his love, who “colored my life/With your own designs, outside the lines/And that’s what makes it fun,” going onto describe the various reasons why she’s so darn colorful. Ain’t that cute? It’s sure to be a hit on that same radio format, and I’m sure it will get a few dozen spins on Brickman’s weekend radio program, Your Weekend With Jim Brickman. It airs on a few dozen stations in the U.S. and Canada, so check his website if you want to listen in.
This summer, you can check out Jim Brickman and his comrades on several dates, including the Brickman Bash on July 18-21 in Nashville, TN, which includes performances, tours and roundtable discussions. He’s also be touring again with his The Magic Of Christmas show beginning in mid-November. I’m sure Mr. McMaster will be catching up with Brickman then as well. For now, he has a new baby girl in his life, Marlowe. Of course, the dynamic duo are also giving birth to this musical child, and the cradle will soft rock once again.