Contemporary Christian Music Watch
By Jim Galipeau

The year 1991 may be history for you and me, but it's not for the 200-plus Christian artists, writers and producers whose names appear on the final ballot for this year's annual Dove Awards. The event, which will be broadcast live over The Nashville Network on April 9, spotlights the ever-growing Gospel Music Association industry. Veteran vocalists Marilyn McCoo and Glen Campbell have been selected as this year's co-hosts.

BeBe and CeCe Winans have the most to gain, with seven nominations, including: Group of the Year, Album of the Year, and Recorded Song of the Year in the Contemporary, Black Contemporary and Rap categories. The list does not end there, and neither does the family name. In all, the Winans name appears 14 times on the final ballot. It seems BeBe and CeCe aren't the only ones in the family who want to carry out a musical tradition.

Many people were surprised by the six nominations gathered by Twila Paris. The Arkansas native has been nominated for: Artist of the Year, Female Vocalist, and Inspirational Song of the Year, along with Praise and Worship Album of the Year and Contemporary Song of the Year. She's also the only female in the competition for Songwriter of the Year. Others competing for the honor include: Bruce Carroll, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Wayne Watson and Steven Curtis Chapman.

Speaking of Steven Curtis Chapman, even though he's not in the hunt for Male Vocalist of the Year, his album For the Sake of the Call has been nominated for Contemporary Album of the Year, and the title cut has a shot at winning the Contemporary Song of the Year.

"Home Free" by Wayne Watson, 1991's number one song in Christian Radio, has a chance at winning both Song of the Year and Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year. Wayne could also walk away with Male Vocalist of the Year. Label mate and ten-time Dove Award-winner for Female Vocalist of the Year, Sandi Patti, has some stiff competition this year from Amy Grant, Twila Paris, Margaret Becker and Kim Hill. Sandi's children's album Open for Business is up for Children's Album of the Year and she's also in the running for Inspirational Song of the Year.

Don't worry, the legends of Contemporary Christian music haven't been forgotten. Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant are up for Artist of the Year and they've both been nominated for Song of the Year for "Place in This World" which they co-wrote. In addition, Amy's been nominated for Female Vocalist and Michael for Male Vocalist.

Two Louisville-area artists could receive Doves this year. Grammy and Dove Award winner Larnelle Harris has picked up a nomination for his album Larnelle Live: Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs for Inspirational Album of the Year. This project also features the talents of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. The Christian Metal Band Bride is another area group that could receive a Dove Award. They've been nominated for Metal Song of the Year and Metal Album of the Year.

A name that does not appear on this year's list of Dove nominees is seven-time Dove Award winner Dallas Holm. His new album Chain of Grace could change all of that by next year though. After 26 albums, a motion picture, autobiography and a video, Dallas says, with Chain of Grace "I have found myself musically." Unlike his previous album, Through the Flame, Dallas stays within his vocal range. Musically, the album reflects one of Dallas' favorite groups from the '60s, The Byrds.

Dallas wrote six of the ten songs found on the new project. Included are songs written by three people converted under his ministry. In fact, the title cut "Chain of Grace" was co-written by Billy Simon and Jeff Silvey, making the message of passing the Word and God's love from generation to generation a reality. The only ballad on the album, "Nothing Can Satisfy Like Jesus," was written by Eddie DeGarmo, who Dallas prayed with after a David Wilkerson crusade 18 years ago.

At first listen you get the feeling that this is a great pop-country album. One reason is the influence of back-up vocalists Steven Curtis Chapman and Geoff Moore. The pair also appear on the song "It's Time," an encouragement for Christians to wake up and share what they believe. The Dove Award-winning group 4 Him appears on the title cut, as well as "Nothing Can Satisfy Like Jesus," adding a nice touch to the album.

Dallas gives us a look into his personal testimony with "The Long Ride" and wraps up the album with a reminder that goodbyes aren't forever, referring to the death of a loved one. The entire work is worth checking out even if it's only for the title cut, "Chain of Grace."

Be sure to set your VCRs to 9:00 p.m. on April 9 for live coverage of the Dove Awards. In case you're not able to catch the live broadcast, TNN will re-broadcast the show on April 11 at 6:00 p.m.