Michael W. Smith
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Christmas Music Playlists with Michael W. Smith Songs
He Loves Christmas Above All Else
Michael W. Smith is a popular Christian artist who has soft spot for the season of goodwill. This has meant that his voluminous discography is littered with odes to Christmas with each new entry bringing something new to the celebrations. Michael’s Christmas odyssey began in 1989 when his album 'Christmas' signalled his snow flecked intentions. With original tracks like the piano and choir laden 'Anthem For Christmas' vying with reruns of old favourites ('Silent Night', 'O Come All Ye Faithful') this was the perfect introduction for Smith's fans to hear how he could light up the season. With fellow Christian singer/songwriter Amy Grant helping Smith on writing duties and joining him on vocals for 'No Eye Had Seen' this was an album crafted especially for this most special of occasions. With bright originality that is so often lacking on Christmas albums and an overriding sense of the sacred side of the season 'Christmas' is hard to resist over the 12 days.
Although it would be quite a few years before Michael's follow-up to 'Christmas' he did contribute a track to a country and western compilation in 1990 called 'Our Christmas'. His song 'Reve Du Noel' was awash with piano and choral parts that could become the very essence of your Christmas gatherings.
With such a beguiling Christmas debut Michael's 1998 follow-up 'Christmastime' was always under pressure to repeat the magic and in many ways he was successful. With the American Boychoir on backing vocals and an impressive orchestra embellishing proceedings 'Christmastime' had a definite sense of grandeur. Like its predecessor this album had a pleasant mix of old and new so in between lavish renditions of 'Jingle Bells', 'We Three Kings' and 'Away On A Manager' (with Smith's daughter Anna lending a hand on vocals) were new brand tracks including the epic instrumental 'Hope Of Israel' and a particularly poppy 'Welcome To Our World'. Much like his debut Christmas album 'Christmastime' had plenty of choral numbers with the title track 'Christmastime' and 'Carols Sing' especially flush with the sound of a thousand voices. Another highlight saw Sandi Patty came in as a guest vocalist on a new version of Frank Sinatra's 'The Christmas Waltz'. With colourful lyrics and artwork 'Christmastime' proved to be as exciting a package as you'd likely find nestled under the Christmas tree.
There would be almost another decade before Michael's 2007's 'It's A Wonderful Christmas' was brought to life but 2004's 'Gloria: A Christmas Celebration' was released between the two releases. This compilation featured a whole host of stars and Michael W. Smith could be found providing the music for Christine Dente on powerful and contemplative 'Prepare A Place'.
Over his long career Michael has always been better known for his musical acumen and direction than his voice but he nonetheless peppers his recordings with his vocals. This was evident on his third dedicated Christmas album 'It's A Wonderful Christmas' which was recorded with the help of a 67-piece orchestra and no less than 4 choirs at the world famous Abbey Road Studios in London. With an album that is split 50/50 between instrumental and vocal performances 'It's A Wonderful Christmas' is close to cinematic in its scope. Again Smith worked through a playlist that is mostly unfamiliar with his influence felt on the songwriting duties on all but one track, the classic 'What Child Is This'. Mandisa from the American Idol TV show joined Michael on 'Christmas Day', a soft and gentle piece that reminded one a little of a Cliff Richard seasonal ditty. The album closed in a bright eyed manner with another original called ‘All Year Long’ which was a lesson on keeping the spirit the season in our hearts throughout the year.
In 2011 Michael and David Davidson got together to produce a 14-track instrumental album called ‘Michael W. Smith Presents: Strings of Christmas’ in which the pair beautifully rendered a host of sacred perennials like ‘Oh Little Town of Bethlehem’, ‘Angels We Have Heard On High’ and ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’. Although it has not achieved the acclaim of his previous efforts there is no denying that the season is made all the more lovely with ‘Strings of Christmas’ on in the background. Michael is due to release a brand new Christmas album in time for Christmas 2014 with big name collaborators such as Little Big Town and Lady Antebellum slated in for collaborations.Author: Kevin