Perhaps the most lush of all his recordings, Michael W. Smith's 'I'll Lead You Home' is full of promise and invitation. With powerful vocals as usual, the orchestrations are formidable without getting mushy. As a lyricist, he is able to pull out all the stops. Taking on subjects such as crises of faith and racial strife, he goes for each listener's heart by extolling us to seek consolation, healing, and meaning from our heavenly source.
Much like Joel Osteen as a preacher, Smith has the perceptive wisdom to illuminate that our hearts are wounded in life's ordeals and need some perspective to sort things out. We are cajolled to continue as weary pilgrims on the title track; then encouraged not to lose heart on the truly ethereal "Calling Heaven". Truly effective, he has the goods to diagnose the problem with existence ("Cry for Love") and relationships ("Breakdown"). Then, he offers heavenly consolation ("I'll Be Around" and "Someday") Yet, once he presents an understanding God, he presents praising the Lord as our ultimate remedy ("As It Is in Heaven" and "Crown Him with Many Crowns") As is typical of Michael W. Smith, he leaves his congregation with a message that comes from God in the first person (an attribute he takes on so well with the inspirational invitation of "I'm Waiting for You").
Easily, the instrumentation of 'I'll Lead You Home,' could have become too formulaic, but Smith's ability to create a breadth of music as well as his wealth of understanding of the wounded human heart, give the C.D. a substantative healing experience without becoming muzak to our ears.