Various Artists

Here to Him Music: Hugs for Friends

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What better track to lead off the Friends CD in the Hugs series than Michael W. Smith's gentle anthem "Friends," played eloquently by keyboardists and arrangers Jeff Nelson and Sal Oliveri. The rest of the collection is a mix of well-worn pop inspirational standards (a fairly generic keyboard reading of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," a simple guitar rendering of "Wind Beneath My Wings"), Christian pop hits (a countrified Twila Paris' "God Is in Control"), and a handful of worship tunes (including a trip-hoppy "Sing Joy," "Trust and Obey," and an overly synthesized take on "I Will Sing of His Mercies"). "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" is given a respectful classical guitar solo reading. The closer "Moving of the Mountain" is big, sweeping, and very anthemic -- imagine a congregation holding hands and swaying to this one. This is one of three discs in the series, which also features tie-in inspirational books with the same titles.

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