Between the Liner Notes
Michael W. Smith: Timeless Holiday Classics to Treasure
By Tim Branson
The 700 Club
The signs of Christmas are all around us—the trees, Santa Claus, Nativity scenes, and of course—the unmistakable sound of Christmas music. For years the music of Michael W. Smith has touched our hearts. But he admits that there’s something special about Chirstmas music.
"It’s almost like a genre of music that really, really never dies. It really never goes away and never gets old because when you hear it during the holidays, it just seems to be the right fit and the right thing," says the artist.
With that in mind, Michael went to Abbey Road Studios in London this year and recorded his third Christmas album, It’s a Wonderful Christmas.
"You know, to me this is probably the most thrilling recording experience of my career because I was at Abbey Road Studios, and you’ve got this huge orchestra ... 65 piece -- the London Session Orchestra. You’ve got a huge choir, you have a classical choir, you have a children’s choir, and you have a boy’s choir from London. You know, so there’s big voices, and just the production ... it’s – I feel like I scored another movie.
Recently, 700 Club producer Tim Branson met with Michael to discuss his new album.
Tim Branson: Christmas music has an essence, a feel, if you will. How do you capture that essence and feel, and at the same time infuse it with the element of worship?
Michael W. Smith: Well, that’s a good question. I don’t really think about that. What comes out of me is really, honestly just a natural extension of who I am and honoring the One who made it all.
While recording at Abbey Road was a thrill for Michael, there were even more special moments for him.
"There’s this moment called, 'Audrey’s Gift.' And that’s my granddaughter, my one and only granddaughter."
"But I sat and just wrote this thing, it just poured out of me. You know, I had big tears in my eyes, and I knew it was about her, I wrote it about her," Michael says of Audrey.
Branson: Christmas like no other holiday can elicit really strong emotions and memories for people. Is that true for you?
Smith: It’s true for me because Christmas was a big deal at our house, you know? And maybe because we were all musical. We’re all believers, you know. You know, my mom and dad are the bomb, just period. I watched them love each other, but I watched them invite people into our home all the time. And there was always food, you know? Because my mom’s quite the cook. And you center that around, again, the most wonderful time of the year ... there’s something pretty special about that.
Michael is currently on tour for the new album, and he’s the first to point out that it’s all about much more than selling records.
"I hope – gosh, I hope people love the record. You know, I think there’s some really powerful things on the album, that can make people reflect," he says.
"There are moments in the show that we orchestrate, that are very, very powerful and you get this essence where you’re pulling Christ in to, again what the whole season’s all about. And hopefully there’s great revelation going on and people walk out and go, 'Wow, maybe this thing really is true.' ”
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