Michael W. Smith & Friends: The Spirit of Christmas review

Alright everyone, we\’re headed into the Fall season so you know what that means- Christmas Music! Whether you love it or hate it, you can\’t escape the cavalcade of holiday cheer that comes with fall and the first major Christmas release of 2014 comes courtesy of Michael W. Smith. Smith isn\’t bringing you the same watered-down, overdone Christmas album, though; he\’s mixing it up by bringing in a plethora of guest musicians and vocalists- mostly from the country world. The majority of the album is your traditional Christmas Carols but there are a few surprises thrown in. Of course, Michael W. Smith & Friends: The Spirit of Christmas is going to include a medley or two and we have a strong medley in the title track (“Deck the Halls,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Feels Like Christmas” and “O Come All Ye Faithful).” Smith does a great job at presenting guests on tracks and songs that fit them very well. You\’re not going to have anything out of left field and definitely no curve balls. Each guest musician or vocalist is featured on a song that you\’d normally expect them to be on but offers up a great taste of originality as it\’s been awhile since something like this has been done on a Christmas album. Produced to perfection and composed beautifully, this isn\’t just a strong Christmas album- it\’s a powerful album altogether. It\’s been a big year for Michael W. Smith as this is his second release of the year, following Sovereign, which was released a few months back. As always, Smith delivers the goods and brings you something you can listen to for hours on end and this time around it even caters to more than one audience. The Christian music fans will love as will the country audience and, of course the Christmas music enthusiast. There\’s something for everyone and after listening to The Spirit of Christmas you\’ll be itching for Christmas and may even go do some early shopping. Rating: 9/10 -Reggie Edwards   Michael W. Smith & Friends: The Spirit of Christmas Track Listing: 1. The Miracle of Christmas 2. It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year 3. Happy Holidays/Holiday Season 4. Christmas Time Is Here (feat. Vince Gill) 5. White Christmas (feat. Lady Antebellum) 6. Somewhere In My Memory 7. The Spirit of Christmas (Deck the Halls, Good King Wenceslas, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Feels Like Christmas, O Come All Ye Faithful) 8. Silent Night (feat. Little Big Town) 9. What Child Is This (feat. Martina McBride) 10. Almost There (feat. Amy Grant) 11. All Is Well (feat. Carrie Underwood) 12. Christmas Day (feat. Jennifer Nettles) 13. The Darkest Midnight (Spoken Word by Bono) 14. Peace (with Special Guest Michael McDonald)