Peanuts and Popcorn

bff07f90c9dffa2d67d3aab2_440x293Diehard fans of Michael W. Smith and his Christmas music may be disappointed with his 4th holiday album: Michael W. Smith & Friends: The Spirit of Christmas. The album isn’t bad, but it is so much less than what we’ve come to expect from this talented performer. However, it should be said that this album has a whole different direction from his earlier works too and this new album has its share of fans that may not have been too hip on the others.

Unlike his previous works, this one features a lot less original material and the majority of it focuses on classic Christmas tunes. Only a couple of songs are composed for a full orchestra but they pale when compared to Smith first Christmas record, Christmas, which was recorded in 1993.

Instead, Spirit of Christmas is sort of a throwback of classic Christmas albums our parents had when we were little. In fact, Smith looks more like Lawrence Welk than his more youthful self on the cover. The music, though good, sounds more like classic Christmas special. The album features duets with some really big names including Vince Gill, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Amy Grant, Bono, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles, Michael McDonald and Smith’s own granddaughter, Audrey Smith.

If you caught the CMA Christmas special this year, you already know how incredible “All is Well” with Carrie Underwood is. Other standouts include “Almost There” with Amy Grant, “Christmas Time is Here” with Vince Gill and “Peace” with Michael McDonald . Bono doesn’t sing on the album, only narrates The Darkest Midnight with an incredibly haunting voice.

Michael-W-Smith-e1410399972951The line-up of music on the album includes:

  1. The Miracle of Christmas
  2. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
  3. Happy Holiday / Holiday Season
  4. Christmas Time is Here (featuring Vince Gill)
  5. White Christmas (featuring Lady Antebellum)
  6. Somewhere in My Memory (featuring Audrey Smith)
  7. The Spirit of Christmas (Deck the Halls, Good King Wenceslas, O Little Town of Bethlehem, O Come All Ye Faithful)
  8. Silent Night (Featuring Little Big Town)
  9. What Child is this (Featuring Martina McBride)
  10. Almost There (Featuring Amy Grant)
  11. All is Well (Featuring Carrie Underwood)
  12. Christmas Day (Featuring Jennifer Nettles)
  13. The Darkest Midnight (Featuring Bono)
  14. Peace (Featuring Michael McDonald)