Paul Loren, Holiday Cheers – Review
by Robert S. Harmon
Paul Loren is the next generation of consummate crooners. Loren is a singer, songwriter, producer, and vintage visionary. A native New Yorker, Loren absorbed the rich legacy of soul, classic pop, and the Great American Songbook in his home growing up. His recordings which are bountiful, lean towards an era of timelessness in the Adult Standard idiom. Last year was a breakthrough year for Loren as he performed on his first National Tour in support of Brendan James, opened for “The Temptations” as part of Stamford’s Summer Concert Series “Wednesday Night Live”, and sold out Joe’s Public Theater in NYC multiple times. Loren was also selected by Jennifer Lopez to perform at her Birthday Gala in Las Vegas and was a featured artist at the AAA Radio Convention in Boulder Colorado. He shared the stage with Paul Shaffer, Queen Latifah, and Christie Brinkley at Target’s launch event for New York Fashion Week. Furthermore, Loren landed his first television sync on NBC’s “Mysteries of Laura,” performed on the Nationally Syndicated Radio Show America Weekend with Ed Kalegi, showcased at the world-renowned Leo Burnett Ad Agency at their headquarters in Chicago, and had the unique honor of performing at the legendary STAX Museum in Memphis Tennessee.
Loren’s holiday offering is aptly title Holiday Cheers, a solid reference to the rat pack era of cool tunes with panache. Loren opens the album with a welcome message that invites the listener to settle in and enjoy. Followed by Loren’s original “Grandma’s House,” a fun filled song of innocence that fills your mind of simpler times and the joy of family. Another Loren original “Hold Onto Christmas,” has a throwback soul sound, that reminds us to remember the joy after the Christmas holiday, to hold onto the cheer throughout the year. Loren’s voice is filled with soulful remembrance as he weaves through the beautiful fabric of the tune.
What Christmas would not be complete without the classic “Marshmallow World,” written by Carl Sigman and Peter De Rose? The song was first a hit for Bing Crosby (backed by the Lee Gordon Singers and Sonny Burke and his Orchestra). Crosby’s version was recorded in 1950. It peaked at number 24 on the pop singles chart in January 1951. A well recorded song by other artists in 1950 include: Ray Anthony, Vic Damone, Johnny Desmond, Arthur Godfrey, Vaughn Monroe, Brenda Lee and Dean Martin. Loren is equally inspired on this track; his joyful swagger and crystalline voice will quickly set your mood and shake off any feelings of a blue holiday.
The album does not stop at the Christmas holiday. Loren has included his original “New Years Day,” not to be confused with Taylor Swift’s tune. Replete with a brass ensemble accompaniment, creating a lush and nostalgic Christmas traditional sound. Loren is much more exposed vocally on this cut and its with great result. His voice is filled with hope and promise conveys the lyric with elegance and poise. A reflective way to end the album. Loren sends the listener off with a contemplative closing.
Overall, Holiday Cheers is a kaleidoscope of smartly penned and well-chosen tunes that add up to a varied program of pure listening joy. Loren’s originals are destined to become holiday classics. Much more than simply a crooner (though aptly skilled), Loren is a craftsman at writing. If you are looking for a stocking stuffer that will make young and old happy at the dinner party festivities, be sure to pick up a copy. Though currently it seems the best place to get it, is direct from the artist’s website. Put a little doo-wop soul in your stocking and show that finicky guest, your best holiday jocundity.