File this one under Strange Bedfellows. Rick Rubin, who was named producer of the year at Sunday’s Grammy Awards, is best known for founding Def Jam Records and his work with acts like the Beastie Boys, Slayer, Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers. For his next project, he’s producing…wait for it… Josh Groban. Yes, that Josh Groban, the classical crossover singer/songwriter, David Foster protégé, the “Noel” guy.
Hitfix talked with Groban about the admittedly odd pairing earlier this week. “Rick and I met, we really clicked. I just respect him so much, I’m really thrilled to do a project with him,” Groban says. “We had a real honest discussion about not trying to pull each other out of our comfort zones [and about] just trying to make a beautiful record.”
That shouldn’t be hard, whether or not Groban’s records are your cup of tea, his soaring vocals are inspirational and his song selection is usually impeccable, if, sometimes, a bit too schmaltzy-one word never, ever applied to Rubin. Rubin, who works almost more as a guru than a traditional producer, could bring out something that Foster hasn’t in Groban, given their very different sensibilities. We’re intrigued to hear what they come up with.
Of course, Rubin also produced Johnny Cash (if you don’t have the series of albums they collaborated on shortly before Cash’s death, stop reading this right now and go download them), as well as Neil Diamond’s last two albums, which are among the most critically acclaimed of his long career. He also produced the Grammy-winning Dixie Chicks’ album, “Taking the Long Way Home.”
Groban tells Hitfix that he’s “written a ton of songs,” for the project and plans to start recording this week. No release date has been set.
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