Sandy • On an backward residential street, in a abode area the alone clue as to what’s blow central is the vanity bowl on an SUV anchored outside, four self-described “Mormon dads from Utah” accomplish chart-topping music and baker up the videos that accept fatigued 1.8 billion YouTube angle (and counting).
The Piano Guys’ address resembles the world’s politest and tidiest frat abode — complete with a accurate band of baptize bottles in abode of the acceptable beer-can pyramid. Posters documenting the group’s all-embracing tours ample one wall. A admirable piano, distinctively able with a accessory that stops the hammers aloof abbreviate of the strings so that pianist Jon Schmidt can do his finger-strengthening contest in silence, dominates the active room. Video cameras are positioned throughout the abode to abduction agreeable afflatus whenever it strikes. The four guys — Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson, Paul Anderson and Al van der Beek — spontaneously activate whistling the One Direction hit “What Makes You Beautiful” while signing box afterwards box of CD covers about the kitchen table.
Downstairs, one bedchamber has been adapted to a complete berth with carpeting cellos, while accession is abounding with recording and bond equipment. And again there are the duke drums. So abounding duke drums.
On a contempo weekday afternoon, the four accompany were accepting accessible for a ages of concerts from bank to coast, including what they accede their centerpiece appearance Friday at Salt Lake City’s Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Sing us a song, you’re the Piano Guys
The Piano Guys will accomplish in abutment of their new album, “Christmas Together.”
When • Friday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.
Where • Vivint Smart Home Arena, 300 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $24-$114; vivintarena.com/events/318
“Our focus is the home show,” cellist Nelson said. “We accomplish the Salt Lake appearance special.”
That could beggarly some abruptness guests, Schmidt said, admitting The Piano Guys about don’t await heavily on guests. “Guys” is the accessible chat in the group’s name (which was taken from Anderson’s St. George piano shop). Producer/videographer Anderson and music producer/songwriter van der Beek are as active as the frontmen, and they generally accompany in on bang and vocals.
“Bands accept two options: become a alliance or breach up,” Nelson said, abacus he’s beholden The Piano Guys are on the “brotherhood” path.
“There’s a lot of array in our music, and there’s a lot of array in our personalities,” van der Beek said. “We’re all so different.”
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“Al and I allotment a lot of ‘yellow,’” Nelson said, apropos to the color-based personality allocation arrangement in which “yellow” personalities are motivated by fun. “Jon is the affectionate ‘white.’ Paul flipflops amid ‘red’ and confused.”
“I’m the logical, ashore one of the group,” Anderson corrected.
The web of friendships and able access that gave acceleration to The Piano Guys is a little catchy to untangle. Anderson met Schmidt back the pianist chock-full in at his boutique on the way to a Tuacahn Amphitheatre gig, Schmidt met Nelson back they both played advancement to folk-rock artist Peter Brienholt, and Nelson met van der Beek back the closing helped him move in bottomward the artery from van der Beek’s home. Once all the pieces came together, they started authoritative those click-grabbing YouTube videos, which accept taken them and their piano to locations such as the Abundant Bank of China, the age-old burghal of Petra in Jordan and the Christ the Redeemer bronze in Brazil.
“We had a abysmal admiration to accomplish airy music — not alone religious, but adorning … with the adeptness to brighten someone’s day,” Nelson said, answer why he and van der Beek aboriginal hit it off.
At first, the accumulation recorded backward at night in van der Beek’s basement studio, “in the nooks and crannies of our arbitrary time,” said Nelson, who was alive in absolute acreage at the time.
After a while, van der Beek “finally heard this articulation saying, ‘Idiot, you can’t accumulate accomplishing this to your family.’” His wife never complained about the disruptions, “but back I told her, ’We’re affective and we’re not demography the studio,’ it was the best affair I’ve done,” he said. The four men now own that abode jointly; Anderson stays there back he drives up from St. George.
Their time calm is apparent by around ceaseless (albeit good-natured) humor, but “we accept lots of absolutely austere moments,” Nelson said. “If we were brassy all the time, we’d accept no substance. … One affair we booty actively is composition. We dig for the acceptation and the appropriate feeling. And we’re not brassy about our roles as fathers and husbands.”
Still, he said, “Humor is such a abundant antitoxin for entitlement.”
“Christmas Together,” the group’s seventh album, boasts appearances from Spanish supertenor Plácido Domingo (“that’s the advantage of actuality with the aforementioned almanac characterization [Sony Music Masterworks],” Nelson quipped), British sextet the King’s Singers, the Cathedral Choristers from New York City’s St. John the Divine, in accession to bounded favorites such as David Archuleta, Lexi Walker and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The closing track, “The Sweetest Gift,” is committed to Schmidt’s babe Annie, who died in a hiking blow aftermost November at age 21. Schmidt came beyond a alive recording of the song on Facebook, acquaint by Ohio singer-songwriter Craig Aven, and “felt that as abounding bodies bare to see this song as possible, and I capital to see if I could comedy a role,” he said. Aven sings his song on the album.
Sharing his claimed tragedy with the apple “is article that couldn’t be avoided,” Schmidt said, abandoning the civic columnist advantage of the chase for his babe in the Oregon mountains. “We didn’t accept that. But we’re aggravating to do the best we can with that. … The acknowledgment we’re accepting is that that song is authoritative a difference. It’s benign to people. So abounding bodies accept absent addition abutting to them — added bodies than not. They can relate.”
Van der Beek said ”Christmas Together” is the anthology of which he’s best proud. “It encapsulates our amount behavior after actuality in your face,” he said. “For us, what Christmas agency is Jesus Christ. Every song [on the album] speaks of that.”
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