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Michael W. Smith Goes Country for Christmas

by Kim Jones   Nov 19, 2014 17:22 PM EST

When three-time GRAMMY® winner Michael W. Smith decided to record his fourth Christmas album, Michael W. Smith & Friends: The Spirit of Christmas, he wanted something different -- something that would stand apart from his first three holiday projects (It's A Wonderful Christmas - 2007, Christmastime - 1998 and Christmas - 1989). What better way to do it than to invite friends? (Especially when those friends are some of the biggest names in Country music!)

The project released on September 30th and it quickly shot to #1 on the Billboard Holiday Albums chart. Featuring a virtual plethora of A-list guests - including country music heavy-hitters, Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town, Vince Gill, Lady Antebellum, Jennifer Nettles and Martina McBride, as well as Amy Grant, Bono and Michael McDonald, who represent other genres. Huffington Post called the album an early "favorite Yuletide effort" and an instant "Christmas classic."

In keeping with the Christmas spirit, earlier this month, Smitty attended the 2014 CMA Awards in Nashville and escorted members of the U.S. Marines in support of their Toys For Tots campaign. Toys were collected at the taping for CMA Country Christmas and will be distributed to children and families in need in the greater Nashville region.

On November 30, he will kick off his annual "Spirit of Christmas Tour" with special guest Rachael Lampa. The tour will visit 14 cities in the U.S. and Canada and will see special guest, Amy Grant, on three dates.

Michael W. Smith Spirit of Christmas Tour Dates:

November 30 - Anaheim, CA
December 1 - Modesto, CA
December 3 - Clarksville, TN
December 4 - Nashville, TN
December 5 - Birmingham, AL
December 6 - Richmond, VA
December 11 - Wichita, KS
December 12 - Dallas, TX*
December 13 - Minneapolis, MN*
December 15 - Atlanta, GA*
December 18 - Spokane, WA
December 19 - Portland, OR
December 20 - Seattle, WA
December 21 - Abbotsford, BC, Canada
*Co-headline with Amy Grant

Fans will also have a chance to see Smitty perform two of the songs live when he performs on the CMA Country Christmas special, which will air on ABC on Monday, December 1 at 8/7c. He will perform two tracks off of the new album and joining him on stage will be CMA Awards host Carrie Underwood and the newly inducted Grand Ole Opry members Little Big Town. Smith will perform his original song "All Is Well" with Underwood and the beloved Christmas classic "Silent Night" with Little Big Town. The 2014 CMA Country Christmas special will also feature performances by Leann Rimes, Idina Menzel, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Steven Tyler and more.

Smith made his CMA Country Christmas debut in 2013, performing with host Jennifer Nettles.

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