Contemporary Christian Music Watch
By Jim Galipeau

Last month I told you about a great investment opportunity with the story on Word and Benson being up for sale. If these two giants were too big for your pocketbook, how about investing in a smaller company? Diadem is offering 250,000 shares of convertible preferred stock and the price is only 10 bucks a share. Well, yes, there is a slight catch – you have to make a minimum $10,000 investment. Still too rich for my wallet!

In other record company news . . . look for a new Christian label to hit the market soon. The president of Liberty Records, Jimmy Bowen, says his company will go into the Christian Music Business this year. Bowen says "Christian Music is going to be the biggest growth area of the Nineties." As of yet, they have not named the label.

Meanwhile, Word Records has formed yet another label dedicated to contemporary Praise and Worship. Heart Cry Records will bring us three types of Praise and Worship music: congregational, instrumental and artist praise. The first Heart Cry release should be finished this month.

And another label is creating another label. Brentwood Music has founded Spotted Dog Music for its Contemporary Christian music releases. It's reported that the company plans 101 releases this year! Not really, the first release is scheduled for this month.

Michael Sweet has left Stryper. The original lead singer and main songwriter of Stryper left the group over artistic differences. Michael reportedly will be going solo. He says he wants to do a more versatile rock rather than the metal sound of Stryper. The remaining members of Stryper: Michael's brother Robert, Oz Fox and Timothy Gaines, say they will continue as a band.

If the summer heat is getting to you, let's think about December. You know what that means . . . Christmas music! Amy Grant is in the studio working on her Brown Bannister-produced holiday album. The Myrrh release will have a special Christmas message and reading from Amy. Meanwhile, Sheila Walsh is cutting a Christmas album for Warner Alliance. Produced by Phil Naish, the release will feature Sheila "duetting" with Michael English, Wayne Watson, Steven Curtis Chapman, Twila Paris, Steve Green, Phil Driscoll and Russ Taff. Speaking of Russ, he's in the studio on a one-record deal with Sparrow doing a Christmas album. While Russ has been singing, his manager is looking for a country deal for Taff with Liberty Records and Warner Brothers.

Switching to cable . . . Benny Hester has founded a new variety show called Round House. The show will attempt to bring young viewers subtle values without making the youngsters feel like they're being preached to. The show will air Saturday nights on Nickelodeon, starting August 15.

Dallas Holm returned to Louisville June 14 for a benefit concert for Hannah's House, a crisis pregnancy center. Last year Dallas performed alone, but this year he brought Paul Smith and Michele Wagner. The trio shared their music before a packed house at Evangel Christian Life Center. The benefit concert raised over $5,000 for Hannah's House. Additional artists are expected for next year's event.

Some new releases to check out: Second Chapter of Acts 20 from Sparrow; The Great AdventureBy Steven Curtis Chapman on Sparrow; and also on the big bird, No Compromise: Remembering the Music of Keith Green. It's time to observe the tenth anniversary of Keith's death with classics performed by Russ Taff, Rich Mullins, Petra, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael Card, Steve Green, Margaret Becker, Glad, and the list goes on.

As you enjoy the family picnic and fireworks on the Fourth, contemporary Christian artist Kim Hill will be tying the knot. Just a few days later, on July 11, Kim Hill and Band will appear at Kentucky Kingdom for Christian Family Fun Day II. Kim will perform in the Summermoon Amphitheatre at 4 and 7 p.m. The concerts are free with you paid admission to the park. Listen for more information on Christian Family Fun Day II on WJIE 88.5 FM.

WJIE Picks

"The Great Adventure"

Steven Curtis Chapman

"Can't Live Without You"

Jon Gibson

"Sometimes By Step" Rich Mullins

"Take the Time" Michael English

"Generation to Generation"

Benson Artists

"Say the Word" White Heart

"Like a Father Should Be"

Kenny Marks & Kim Hill

"Waiting for the Day" Billy Sprague

"A Friend Like You"

Geoff Moore & the Distance

"He Never Changes" 4 Him

Concert Information

Saturday, July 11 – Christian Family Fun Day. Kentucky Kingdom. Kim Hill & Band. 4 & 7 p.m.

July 12 – New Believers. Rock Haven Baptist Church. 7 p.m.

Saturday, July 25 – Carman in Lexington. Rupp Arena.

August 2 – New Beginnings from 9th & O Baptist. Rock Haven Baptist. 7 p.m.

Future Concerts

September – Steven Curtis Chapman, Susan Ashton, Out of the Grey

October – Wayne Watson, Bruce Carroll.