Hymns II: Shine On Us by Michael W. Smith | CD Reviews And Information | NewReleaseToday

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Hymns II: Shine On Us [edit]
by Michael W. Smith | Genre: Praise & Worship | Release Date: January 29, 2016
 

Hymns II: Shine On Us is a collection of classic songs and contemporary hymns that Michael hopes will bring your spirit to a place of worship every time you listen. All of these songs are brand new recordings performed as only Michael can.

This new album takes you on a nostalgic journey, infusing Smith’s gospel roots and beautifully, captivating arrangements on of some of the most popular hymns we know and love.

The physical album is available exclusively in Cracker Barrel stores nationwide and all digital outlets.


Track Listing
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01. Down To the River To Pray
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02. I Need Thee
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03. Jesus, Only Jesus
04. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
05. I'll Fly Away
06. His Eye Is On the Sparrow
07. I Don't Know Why (Jesus Loves Me)
08. Shine On Us
09. Nearer My God To Thee
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10. Untitled Hymn (Come To Jesus)
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11. I'd Rather Have Jesus
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12. O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
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13. Be Still My Soul
14. Great Is the Lord
15. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
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16. America The Beautiful (O Beautiful For Spacious Skies)
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Entry last edited by NRTeamAdmin on 01.28.16

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Tradition With A Unique Touch | Posted January 30, 2016
Winner of countlesss awards (including several Doves and Grammys), artist behind countless successful albums, writer of so many of the songs we sing each week in church-- it's hard to sum up the career of Michael W. Smith with only one paragraph. A true legend in Christian music, Smitty has gained a fanbase of loyal listeners that eagerly await his next release. With Hymns II: Shine On Us, his second hymns record in partnership with Cracker Barrel, he fulfills that request.
 
The Highlights;
Clocking in at a lengthy 16 songs, you're sure to find some of your favorite hymns on this record. The album begins with energy-filled "Down To The River To Pray" that'll have you tapping your feet in no time before slowing things down with the worshipful moments "I Need Thee" and "Jesus, Only Jesus." The always peppy "I'll Fly Away" is of course included in this collection, along with mainline hymn staple "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," which boasts an impressive background choir.

Longtime Christian music fans will be pleased to see a trio of songs that harken back to the golden age of Christian music, with Smitty's first remake of one of his first worship songs, "Great Is The Lord." Title track "Shine On Us" was made popular by Phillips, Craig & Dean back in the day, but not everyone knows that Smith and his wife, Debbie, were the original writers--so it's nice to finally hear the author lend his voice to it on this record. CCM fans' ears also will perk up when they hear a beautiful rendition of Chris Rice's classic song, "Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)."
 
The Bottom Line:
With Hymns II: Shine On Us, Michael W. Smith once again proves why he's one of the greats in this industry as he takes timeless favorites and adds his unique touch--breathing incredible creative energy into them to make them feel revived.
 
Song to Hear First:
"Down To The River To Pray"
 

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Awesome! =) | Posted March 22, 2016
Whenever Michael W. Smith releases a new album I always get excited. Imagine perhaps a 12 year old on their birthday and you are not far off, from how I feel about getting a new Smitty album. :)

So in keeping with tradition, it is time once again to write another thoughtful, meaningful and slightly off-topic or rambling review of what I think, feel, and the thoughts it evokes. Or at least have done for the past almost a decade. Now I'm starting to feel old, thinking about that... Let's not dwell on that part, anymore, shall we... However, I have no decent excuse as to why Hymns II has been out for two months and I've yet to write a review! I'm like slacking on the job here...

Anyways, all that said, when I first heard this was going to be an exclusive Cracker Barrel release to follow-up Hymns, I was excited all the more. Given Michael's past with Hymns, it's no exception this is going to be awesome, too! Upon learning the title was Hymns II - Shine On Us, I was elated. I first heard Shine On Us in a church Easter program years ago. That was when I learned it was indeed a Michael W. Smith song and not, contrary to popular belief, a Phillips, Craig and Dean song. Yes. It's true. While Phillips, Craig and Dean may have done a neat rendition of Shine On Us, it still does not change the fact it was originally written by Michael and his wife Debbie Smith.

After all, what kind of album takes the title of a past song simply for a title and not have the actual song on it? That is unheard of!

Needless to say, Shine On Us is one of my favorites on Hymns II. It feels like a simple prayer and reminder of God's grace, love and protection. No matter how far we stray, or what we have done in the past, He still shines down on us. Always loving. Always ready to save us. Always there when we ask.

Even though Michael has previously recorded Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus on Worship, it is still a great reminder of how unimportant earthly things are. Plus here we get to hear the full version of the classic hymn. In fact, so many of our new songs today are based on the early hymns. Sometimes we need to take the time to reflect on what our early hymn writers intended. It's why I love this album as well as Michael's previous Hymns offering so much. We should always look to the future and the great things God has in store for us, but at the same time, never forget where we came from. Never go so far ahead that we lose sight of God's purpose, yet also never go so far back to forget His grace and mercy as to what we once were.

While Hymns brought new life to traditional hymns, Hymns II - Shine On Us captures a variety of hymns both old and new. The classic and the fresh, combined together in such a fitting way to re-tell the Gospel story. A story of love, hope, and wonder. A story of redemption and grace. A story about a loving God that watches over us, and promises us He will be our fortress. Our Refuge.

Other memorable songs on this album:
Down To The River To Pray. It is a great upbeat start to the album. It feels so much like I can actually see the choir side-stepping, dancing, and clapping all at the same time. Truly it is as if I am standing right there, in the same room, along with them. It is an awesome experience and reminder that worshiping God is about celebrating who He is, and what He is. He created us for His Divine Purpose. Rather fitting for I Need Thee on this album as well. We need Him in order to survive in this world. He gave us our very lives.

Great Is The Lord is another previously recorded song that first appeared on Project, Michael's very first solo album. A great anthem of praise and exaltation to our God. Amazing to see that three decades later Michael W. Smith is still living the life, praising the Creator of the universe.

America The Beautiful is a great way to end it all. After giving our Lord and Savior praise and honor, we are given a reminder to regard our country as well as the heroes that fought and died for it, that same honor. Interesting that Michael's second worship offering, Worship Again, ended with There She Stands. A patriotic ballad to honor our fallen heroes of September 11th, 2001. Probably unrelated as to why America The Beautiful was included, but it's a neat coincidence for both his second Worship and Hymns records to end on a patriotic note. America The Beautiful has always been a favorite song of mine because it's got my name in it. Though it's meant to describe "amber waves of grain". Still, if you were to be honest, wouldn't you get excited over a song remotely having your name in it too?

Come to think of it, this will now be the second time my name has been in a Michael W. Smith song. Yep. It's true. The other song is an exclusive track Evening Show on his Love Me Good Single. Again, my name is used to describe grain, but it still counts!

So yeah, couple months late in coming. Sorry! Though, come to think of it, kinda feels like it fits a good Easter message, so that is my excuse. I am reviewing this in time for you to consider it as background for your Easter celebrations as you take time to remember why Jesus came and died. Because His eye is on the sparrow, but also, more importantly, on you and me. Happy Easter!

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