In recent years, Michael W. Smith has favored a humble approach to Christian music-making with a restrained style that suits him well, as evidenced by 2007’s Stand. This sparsely-produced and tastefully-sung album contrasts sharply with the bombast heard on many current Christian pop/rock releases. The most appealing tracks are built around acoustic piano and guitar, allowing Smith to sing in understated, almost fragile tones. Of particular merit are “Grace” and “Come See,” simple but moving statements of God’s love. “Be Lifted High” is also powerful in its expression of the singer’s struggle against pride. The energy level is turned up a notch on the propulsive “In Silence” and the stirring “Come To The Cross.” “How To Say Goodbye” offers comfort to a growing child over a Celtic-tinged melody. Closing the album on a breezy note is “Escape Your Love,” a soft-flowing R&B track. The album’s lack of pretention and evident sincerity help unify the diverse tracks. On Stand, Smith speaks with quiet assurance and unshaken faith.

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