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Editors’ Notes

After winning acclaim for his pop-rock worship projects, Michael W. Smith takes a more country-leaning approach on Hymns. The veteran Christian singer/songwriter taps into his West Virginia roots and the wellsprings of his faith on this album. Rather than writing original tunes, Smith reaches back to previous centuries for a wide selection of famous and lesser-known sacred songs. Smith’s warm, earnest vocals are framed by sparse yet polished arrangements built around acoustic guitars, pianos, and backup choirs. The music achieves a classic tone without sounding antique, bringing out the timeless message within each lyric. There are flashes of bluegrass energy here (particularly in “Victory in Jesus” and “Softly and Tenderly”), as well as a hint of pop balladry (heard in a piano-centered interpretation of “Were You There”). A reading of “Wonderful, Merciful Savior” (composed in 1989) adds a modern melodic touch. For the most part, though, Smith hews close to tradition in his versions of church standards like “The Old Rugged Cross,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “God of Our Fathers.”

Customer Reviews

Michael W. Smith HYMNS cd

I LOVE the new HYMNS cd!! It brings back so many fond memories of singing in church with my grandparents!

I love the upbeat banjo in Victory In Jesus!! The words of the Old Rugged Cross brings me to tears every time I think about the suffering that Jesus did for us! The rest of the cd is great too!!

Thank you Michael, Jim, and your wonderful team for making this cd!

I highly recommend this new cd for everyone!!! Jeanine Ryan :-)

Beautiful in its simplicity.

This is probably Michael's best album since his first "Christmas" release.

I was quite worried when I heard this album was coming. I feared, like many artists who have attempted similar hymn compilations, that the hymns would lose their orginal melody and character. However, Michael made a good call in keeping the hymns in very simple arrangements, but doing them very well. No fluff, no runs, no sixteen key changes, no London Symphony Orchestra. Most tracks are just a piano and a few bluegrass players. Michael puts his twist on a few pieces here, but when he does, it's subtle and appropriate. A perfect example is "Were You There?", a spiritual that is pretty harmonically bare, but the changes he adds really makes it come alive. Not sure why they included "Wonderful, Merciful, Savior" on this collection, as it's more modern, but the character fits the tone of the album. It's also a very nice touch that he ends the album with "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" in its original choral arrangement. Chill bumps. One thing I've always loved about many of the MWS albums is how all songs can stand alone, but the album as a whole is tied together by some common musical themes that create an ambience that frames the album. "Christmas" was the best example of that, and this one leans back towards that sort of style.

I've followed Michael's career from the begining, and I, like him, am getting older. I apprecciate Michael's attempts to stay relevent in the "Praise & Worship" and "CCM" genres, but to be honest, I'd like to see him begin to do more collections like this. This is his new wheelhouse, and I hope we'll see a volume 2 of this in the future.

Love the songs; sounds quality is really bad

I love hymns and I love MWS, which is why I bought this. I have gotten to the place that I simly cannot listen to this anymore (which is really, really hard to say)- the sound quality is the worst I have ever heard on any "CD." They sound like bad downloads on bad speakers (while others sound just fine). The sound seems far below regular MP3 quality, to the point that I have stopped listening.

If I could rate the songs, I would give them 5 stars. I love the tradtional take on them and how Mike avoided stretching these beautiful tunes so far from their form that they are unrecognizeable.

Sound quality: 0 stars.


Born: October 7, 1957 in Kenova, WV

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Michael W. Smith became one of the most enduringly popular artists in the contemporary Christian music market while also finding brief success as a mainstream artist. The songwriter was born in Kenova, West Virginia, the son of an oil refinery worker and a caterer. He became a devout Christian at age ten and spent his teenage years around a support group of fellow believers who frequently gathered to create music. That support group split up after high school, and Smith turned to alcohol, drugs,...
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