After Michael W. Smith's special performance with Little Big Town and Carrie Underwood at the televised CMA Country Christmas, his brand new Christmas album "The Spirit of Christmas" saw a 150% increase in album sales this week. Currently, on Billboard's Holiday Album Chart, Smith's new album sits at #4, tailing only behind Pentatonix, Idina Menzel and Michael Buble.
"What a moment - it made my hair stand up a little bit!" he said to PEOPLE Magazine backstage at the taping of the show in Nashville.
The Christmas project features Smith duetting with Vince Gill, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, Amy Grant, Jennifer Nettles, Bono and Michael McDonald. "The Spirit of Chrisrmas" broke into the Top 10 Overall Albums on iTunes, helping secure a No. 16 spot on the Billboard 200 and a No. 1 spot on the Billboard Christian/Gospel Albums charts this week. Fueling the positive momentum, media outlets have lauded affirmation on the highly collaborative project, co-produced by Smith, CMA Awards Executive Producer Robert Deaton and orchestral maestro David Hamilton.
Here's part of our review of Smith's festive album: "Unlike other Yuletide recordings where songs are just thrown together in an ad hoc fashion, the sequencing of the songs here tell a story. Commencing with a childlike awe of the magical beauty of Christmas the album progressively traverses into the season's real meaning. Of the earlier segment of the record, Smith's duet with Vince Gill on "Christmas Time is Here" is noteworthy. Sounding a little deeper than his normal high tenor, Vince Gill joins Smith on a languid laid back jazzy rendition of "Christmas Time is Here." Though Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum is in tip top condition vocally on "White Christmas," there is nothing much to shout about with regards to the song's arrangement. And Martina McBride sounds literally bored in a pretty pedantic version of "What Child is This.""
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