Michael W. Smith – The Big Picture – 1986

It has been said here and elsewhere (and quite often) that a CCM album’s depth, quality and creativity will be inversely proportionate to its sales success. Meaning; the better the album the fewer the people that will purchase it. This appears to remain true even for CCM’s golden boy and most popular and prolific male artist, Michael W Smith. The Big Picture, Smith’s artistic triumph remains his weakest selling album and the only album in his career not to reach even gold status. After a strong debut and the utterly forgettable argyle sock of a sophomore release (aptly titled “2”), Smith grabbed the CCM world by the throat with an album that was sonically, creatively and musically miles ahead of the rest of the Nashville pablum for the time. From the dark purple and gold hues of the artwork to the tasteful technological advances and superior production, the Big Picture is great from start to finish. What keeps the album from falling off the tracks in a travesty of technological traps is that the songs themselves are very organic and real. Taking themes from the culture and wrapping them in modern sounds with a clear and poignant response to the baggage those theme bring along makes the album the one worthy release from Smith in the Top 100. Producer John Potoker had worked with Brian Eno, Madonna and a host of others and had a huge influence on the musical direction and big production sound. Many will obviously find the music and production technique dated, but one of this lists presuppositions was to judge albums based on the time they were recorded and what was happening musically. And for that, this album is the most “current” album of Smith’s career. He would record about 10 more albums in a row that are completely indistinguishable from one another. But the strength here lies not in the production (or over-production) but in the strength of a songwriter album to have his songs outlast even the dated production technique.

Contributor David Lowman – https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

1 – Lamu – 5:55
2 – Wired For Sound – 6:00
3 – Old Enough To Know – 4:47
4 – Pursuit Of The Dream – 5:00
5 – Rocketown – 4:32
6 – Voices – 5:50
7 – The Last Letter – 4:37
8 – Goin’ Thru The Motions – 4:55
9 – Tearin’ Down The Wall – 3:35
10 – You’re Alright – 4:36

Artwork By [Art Direction And Design] – Kent Hunter, Thomas Ryan Design
Backing Vocals – Chris Harris, Wayne Kirkpatrick
Bass, Chapman Stick – Tony Levin
Bass, Drum Programming – Gary Lunn
Drum Programming – Frank Doyle, Tokes, Mark Kovac
Drums – Steve Ferrone
Drums, Drum Programming – David Huff
Engineer [Additional] – Bill Heath, Bob Vogt, Clark Schleicher, Ed Goodreau, JB, Jeffrey Dovner, Jon Goldberger, Keith Odle, Ken Criblez, Mike Clute, Nick Deire, Rob Feaster, Spencer Chrislu, Tim Hatfield, Tony Volante
Executive-Producer – Brown Bannister, Dan Harrell, Michael Blanton
Guitar – Dann Huff, Eddie Martinez, Nick Moroch
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Chris Rodrigues
Horns – Jim Pugh, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker
Keyboards, Drum Programming, Backing Vocals – Michael W. Smith
Keyboards, Programmed By [Fairlight], Drum Programming – Shane Keister
Mastered By – Ted Jensen
Other [Child] – Christopher Copeland
Other [Grooming] – Jody Morlock, Julie Miller Overstreet
Other [Production Coordinator] – Kimberly Smith
Other [Styling] – Beverly Ann Moore
Percussion – Bashiri Johnson
Photography By – Dean Dixon, Larry Williams
Producer – John Potoker, Michael W. Smith
Programmed By [Synclavier] – Steve Schaffer

Companies, etc.
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Reunion Records – 1986
Copyright (c) – Reunion Records – 1986
Manufactured By – Word, Inc.
Distributed By – Word, Inc.
Recorded At – Power Station
Recorded At – Mediasound
Recorded At – Sigma Sound Studios, New York
Recorded At – Soundtrack Studios
Recorded At – Bullet Recording
Recorded At – The Bennett House
Recorded At – Emerald Sound Studios
Recorded At – The Castle Recording Studios
Recorded At – Blue Jay Studios
Mixed At – Blue Jay Studios
Mastered At – Sterling Sound

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Author: David Lowman

Owner and writer at CCM's 500 Best Albums Of All Time. https://ccms500bestalbums.wordpress.com/

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