On June 1, 2001, a crowd of 9,000 gathered at the Carpenter's Home Church in Lakeland, FL. Drawn by the desire to experience a live worship service lead by singer, songwriter, and Grammy Award winner Michael W. Smith, little did the participants know the grandeur of the night's event. For it was not the presence of Smith, or even choir members such as Amy Grant and Chris Rice, who served as the evening's focus, but the presence of God. Captured on audio, the service comprises Smith's 15th album, Worship, the first of which is purely praise and worship related. The September 2001 Reunion Records release features 11 songs recorded live during the event, joined by two studio bonus tracks. Musically, the project is consistent with Smith's well-loved style. It is upbeat, pop-oriented and includes his trademark piano talents. Opening with the reading of Psalm 57:7, 9-11 by Smith's daughters Emily and Anna, the album features popular worship songs including "The Heart of Worship" and "Draw Me Close." Perhaps the most powerful and moving portion of the project is the sequence of songs beginning with "Above All," a song he performed at the 54th Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service, followed by Marie Barnett's "Breathe" and the intense cry of "Let It Rain." Definitely Smith's best album as of 2001, Worship sets itself apart from the onslaught of praise and worship projects released within the CCM market between the years of 1998 and 2001. It is truly an expression of deep desire and hunger for a greater outpouring of God's presence and power.
14.06 In Stock
Michael W. Smith has certainly been flexing his creative muscle of late. Not long after releasing his ninth studio album he issued the all-instrumental Freedom. Now we have his first all-worship collection, entitled (natch) Worship. Fans of Smith's Top 40 synth-pop confections should know up front that this is church music -- no surprise, since it was recorded live at the humongous Carpenter's Home Church in Lakeland, Florida. Carpenter's is home church to Nathan Walters of boy band Plus One, and indeed Smitty is backed on Worship by an all-star choir that includes Walters and bandmate Jason Perry, Amy Grant, Ginny Owens, Cindy Morgan, Out of Eden, and Mark Shultz, to name a few. Worship sounds like exactly what it is: a praise-and-worship service at church. As such, we have moments that are tender ("The Heart of Worship"), uplifting ("Forever"), yearning ("Draw Me Close"), and familiar (what praise-and-worship album would be complete without the now-obligatory "Open the Eyes of My Heart?"). Smith and his wife, Debbie, who have together penned quite a few hits, also contribute a new song to the collection, "Purified," an awesome and powerful declaration of love for the Savior. Smith's nearly 20 years in the music business make him a master at capturing emotion from an audience and on record -- and Worship is certainly blessed with that. In a nutshell, Worship is another fine recording from one of Christian music's leading stars.