Billboard presents an in-depth look at Josh Groban’s latest effort, “All That Echoes,” with Josh himself providing a track-by-track look at the album’s twelve songs. The inspiration for the new album, Groban’s follow-up to 2010’s “Illuminations,” came on tour with the neoclassical singer wanting to capture the energy of his live performances. Following that muse, Groban recorded the entire album live. “If you capture a moment of everyone playing together, it can be really, really magical,” Groban told Billboard.
Thinking back to the “making of” process with producer Rob Cavallo and a close circle of collaborators, Groban gives the the story behind the 12 tracks on “All That Echoes.” Some were originals, that he produced with close friends, while others were a bit outside the box: a Stevie Wonder cover, his take on a traditional Irish tune, and a collaboration that involved smoking cigars with legendary trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. Here’s a peek at what Josh had to say about each track:
1. “Brave” – “As I sang the first few words of the song, it all of a sudden felt that we had the first inspiration, the first nucleus of something that could be really inspirational, really fun. As people started listening to it, they were like, ‘Yeah, this is a good first single.'”
2. “False Alarms” – “I liked it because it was romantic and it was hopeful, but it wasn’t about a perfect situation. It was actually about heartbreak and the grey area.”
3. “Falling Slowly” – “I’d been waiting to sing this song ever since I saw Glen Hansard do it in the movie (“Once”) of course. When you do a cover, you want to pay homage to the original version is but add your own thing.”
4. “She Moved Through the Fair” – “I’ve always had a soft spot for Irish music. I love going to Ireland. I’m a sucker for a bagpipe. I think some of those old Irish songs have a great pathos and haunting quality to them.”
5. “Below the Line” – “I rarely throw political messages and things like that into songs, but this is a song I felt was inspiring on the day and continues to be.”
6. “E Ti Prometteró” – “As i listened back to a demo vocal I’d done, i started singing a harmony on top of it. I started singing a girl harmony. I do a great girl voice!”
7. “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” – “So many people cover Jimmy Webb songs, but I like his versions. He may not have the most perfect tone, but there’s a pathos to his songs I think is really great to work off of.”
8. “Un Alma Más” – “We had a spot in the middle where we wanted to have a solo of some sort, and I thought, hey, wish list. ‘Hey Lester, what are the chances of getting Arturo Sandoval to play on this song?'”
9. “Happy in My Heartache” – “It’s about being blinded by love in all the wrong ways.”
10. “Hollow Talk” – “It’s by Choir of Young Believers. They’re a Danish band. They came up with a very interesting story. It’s more of a story and journey than it is a proper song.”
11. “Sincera” – “All my best Italian, classical-style songs have been collaborations with Walter [Afanasieff]. He wrote the first song I ever recorded.”
12. “I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)” – “We felt this was a great message to end a record that takes on every shade of love.”
Last month, Josh took time to answer fan-submitted questions in an exclusive for Billboard.