NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With the success of The Piano Guys' first two major label releases, The Piano Guys and The Piano Guys 2, Portrait/Sony Masterworks will release the Utah-based classical-pop group's new holiday album, A Family Christmas on October 22. Just in time for the holiday season, A Family Christmas will also be available as a deluxe set that includes a bonus DVD of their hit holiday music videos, plus a classic Yule Log video featuring all of the songs on the album.
Produced by the group's Steven Sharp Nelson, Jon Schmidt, Al Van der Beek and Paul Anderson, A Family Christmas puts The Piano Guys' signature twist to such Christmas classics as "Silent Night," "Good King Wenceslas," and "Angels We Have Heard On High," which will be supported by a new YouTube video.
The Piano Guys' video take on One Direction's hit "What Makes You Beautiful" took YouTube by storm when it was posted in July 2012. It featured all five* Piano Guys playing the same piano at the same time. Thanks to its ingeniously intricate concept, the video helped sky rocket The Piano Guys to stardom and has received over 25 million views to date.
Already a YouTube phenomenon from their focus on self-made innovative videos in stunning locations, the Piano Guys have amassed over 1.9 million YouTube subscribers—and more than a quarter-billion views.
A Family Christmas will now be The Piano Guys' third album in the year that the group signed to Portrait/Sony Masterworks. Their self-titled debut album was released last October, and mixed originals sourced from both classical and pop music standards. It topped Billboard's New Age Chart for months while garnering rave reviews and leading to performances on major programs including The Today Show, Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Katie, CBS This Morning and Fox & Friends.
The Piano Guys 2 followed suit in May, and likewise mashed up the classics with pop. So, now, does A Family Christmas. "It's the Piano Guys' signature sound," says Van der Beek, who heads up the group's studio operations and also assists in co-writing and arranging, as well as percussion and vocal texturing. "We just don't take the songs and cover them exactly, but apply the 'TPG Twist' on them. I think it will result in one of those traditional Christmas albums that people put on while they put up their Christmas trees."
"We're really thrilled with the variety of material," adds Schmidt, ironically the group's sole piano player. Nelson, an enormously creative cellist who joins Schmidt as the Piano Guys' two key composer/instrumentalists, adds: "We have this really fun mix of proven YouTube hits: 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,' 'We Three Kings,' 'Carol Of The Bells,' and 'Where Are You Christmas.' We also have several new tunes the fans have never heard before and are very excited to share."
It's become a tried-and-true formula for Piano Guys success: Taking songs that first gained favor via YouTube videos. But A Family Christmas, as Nelson notes, will be embellished by new songs including "Winter Wind" and "Christmas Morning," an original that evokes the amazing experience of Christmas morning in the eyes of young children.
Speaking of small kids, Schmidt's daughter Sara, who's now nine, sings on "Where Are You, Christmas?," which was co-written by Mariah Carey and recorded by Faith Hill for the 2000 film Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
The album also includes "Silent Night," which actually ends with the Guys themselves singing, and the "Carol of the Bells/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" mash-up: "It's like if Pirates of the Caribbean were to write a Christmas song! I call it 'Jack Sparrow of the Bells'."
Schmidt stresses that A Family Christmas is filled with the diverse classical, traditional pop, rock, jazz and film score components that have typified the TPG Twist—the "fun speed bumps and variety moments that people find refreshing."
"You'll hear a Michael Buble flavor, a Doobie Brothers flavor, a Sara Bareilles flavor—and a worshipful feel when it's needed," Schmidt notes. "We spent a lot of time crafting the album so that there's something for everybody, and an opportunity to jam and dance around the house while decorating the tree as well as the chance to sit back with somebody you love and look at the fireplace."
The Piano Guys, incidentally, got their name from a piano store in St. George, Utah owned by Paul Anderson, the video producer of the group, whose vision has led them to become one of the top YouTube channels. Paul's dream of creating videos and placing pianos in crazy locations has taken the group across the world. Currently, the Piano Guys are looking forward to kicking off a Fall tour in October. Their dedicated TV special, Live At Red Butte Garden, continues to air on PBS. For more information, check out ThePianoGuys.com.
*Tel Stewart, the Guys' resident editing genius, has since launched his own production company while retaining a collaborative role in the group.
Sony Masterworks comprises the Masterworks, Sony Classical, OKeh, Portrait, Masterworks Broadway and Flying Buddha imprints. For email updates and information please visit www.SonyMasterworks.com
1. Angels We Have Heard on High
2. Come, O Come, Emmanuel
3. Good King Wenceslas
4. Carol of the Bells / God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
5. Where Are You Christmas
6. Winter Wonderland / Let It Snow
7. Still, Still, Still
8. We Three Kings
9. Away in a Manger
10. Christmas Morning
11. Winter Wind
12. Silent Night
10/11/13 @ 8:00pm-Milwaukee, WI-Pabst Theater
10/12/13 @ 8:00pm-Chicago, IL-Park West
10/15/13 @ 8:00pm-Cleveland, OH-Playhouse Square Center
10/16/13 @ 7:00pm-Royal Oak, MI-Royal Oak Music Theatre
10/17/13 @ 7:30pm-Buffalo, NY-Center for the Arts
10/18/13 @ 8:00pm-Glenside, PA-Keswick Theatre
10/19/13 @ 8:00pm-Albany, NY-The Egg – Hart Theatre
10/23/13 @ 8:00pm-Boston, MA-Berklee Performance Center
10/24/13 @ 7:30pm-Hartford, CT-Bushnell Theatre
10/25/13 @ 8:00pm-Harrisburg, PA-Whitaker Center
10/26/13 @ 3:00pm-Pittsburgh, PA-WQED Theater
10/26/13 @ 8:00pm-Pittsburgh, PA-WQED Theater
10/28/13 @ 8:00pm-Red Bank, NJ-COUNT BASIE
10/29/13 @ 7:30pm-Alexandria, VA-The Birchmere
10/30/13 @ 7:30pm-Roanoke, VA-Jefferson Center
11/01/13 @ 7:30pm-Norfolk, VA-Attucks Theatre
11/02/13 @ 8:00pm-Frederick, MD-The Weinberg Center for the Arts
11/05/13 @ 8:00pm-Durham, NC-Durham Performing Arts Center
11/06/13 @ 8:00pm-Atlanta, GA-Atlanta Symphony Hall
11/07/13 @ 8:00pm-Jacksonville, FL-Florida Theatre
11/08/13 @ 8:00pm-Tampa, FL-Louis Lykes Ferguson
11/09/13 @ 8:00pm-Ft Lauderdale, FL-Parker Playhouse
12/11/13 @ 8:00pm-New York, NY-NYCB Theatre at Westbury
12/17/13 @ 7:30pm-Boise, ID-Taco Bell Arena
12/21/13 @ 7:00pm-Salt Lake City, UT-Energy Solutions Arena
SOURCE Sony Masterworks