For those of us celebrating Vietnamese New Year in the ass-freezing weather, Hồ Trung Dũng’s new release, Xuân Thênh Thang, is a pleasant treat to warm up our soul for the holiday spirit. Unlike most xuân music, which has to have an upbeat vibe, Hồ Trung Dũng’s goes for mellow xuân selection.
Standout is his sensational, charming rendition of “Cảm Ơn Một Đóa Xuân Ngời.” His amiable baritone brings out Quốc Bảo’s romantic lyricism, especially on the low stanza: “Em qua cho tình ta dâng lên / Tình ơi hết thơ ngây rồi / Em qua tha thướt lụa là / Rào đón cơn mơ nguy nga.”
Production wise, most arrangements are elegant and straightforward with the exception of “Hãy Mang Đến Những Mùa Xuân” (Nguyễn Đức Trung). By incorporating some Arabic rhythm, Minh Hoàng, a producer to keep on ear on, gives the standard a brand new flavor.
With Ngọc Tuyền’s operatic support, Hồ Trung Dũng closes out the album with his own song. He wrote “Thênh Thang” for himself as well as the lonesome hearts. He reminds us that this is the time of the year to leave all the worries behind and let our spirit shine.