Contemporary Christian Music Watch
By Jim Galipeau

The 23rd Annual Dove Awards, hosted by Marilyn McCoo and Glen Campbell, proved to be unlike previous years where only one artist won several Doves. Twila Paris was nominated for six awards but went back to Arkansas with only one Dove, for Praise and Worship Album of the Year for Sanctuary. Meanwhile, BeBe & CeCe Winans received seven nominations, which translated into two Doves, for Group of the Year and Contemporary Black Recorded Song of the Year. Other Winans to win Doves were Mom and Pop for Traditional Black Gospel Album.

The biggest surprise at this year's Doves was probably Michael English. He won two of seven major awards, including Male Vocalist, beating out some stiff competition like BeBe Winans, Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman. Michael also took the honor for New Artist of the Year over expected winner Susan Ashton.

Amy Grant's success this year in pop music and in gospel music translated into the Dove for Artist of the Year. Amy was also honored when she, Michael W. Smith and Wayne Kirkpatrick won Song of the Year for "Place in This World." By the way, Michael opened the awards show by singing the winning song.

Sandi Patti received the most awards, including Female Vocalist of the Year. It's only the eleventh time she's won for her vocal ability. The other Doves she took back to Anderson, Ind., were for Inspirational Song, Short Form Video and Children's Music Album.

The Songwriter of the Year Dove went to Steven Curtis Chapman. The young man from Paducah also won Contemporary Song of the Year. Steven closed the Doves with a three-minute medley of his greatest hits. Sparrow thought it was such a hit that they recorded it and shipped in to radio on a CD single.

Other two-Dove winners include: Margaret Becker for Rock Album of the Year and Rock Song of the Year for the album Simple Trust and the title cut. Bruce Carroll continued his dominance of the country category by winning Album of the Year and Song of the Year for his work on Sometimes Miracles Hide.

If you haven't heard yet, last month's band featured in Louisville Music News, Bride, won a Dove for Metal Song of the Year for "Everybody Knows My Name," but Metal Group of the Year went to White Cross. Louisville artist Larnelle Harris was nominated for one Dove Award for Inspirational Album of the Year and won for the album Larnelle Live: Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs.

The performances on this year's Dove Awards were exceptional. They included BeBe & CeCe Winans, Petra, DC Talk, Twila Paris, Bruce Carroll and Ricky Skaggs. Co-host Glen Campbell also performed and won a Dove for Southern Gospel Song of the Year. Meanwhile, Marilyn McCoo narrated a segment on the roots of black gospel music, featuring a large choir and various black artists taking lead vocals during different segments of the feature. Overall, the televised event was enjoyable despite a few technical difficulties with the graphics, but you expect that with live television.

In other news . . . the Benson Group announced the signing of Newsong to a long-term recording contract with the first release scheduled for this fall. Also due out late this year, the new album from Paul Overstreet. Susan Ashton will appear on a song along with Glen Campbell.

Speaking of Susan Ashton . . . her recent concert appearance in Holland was recorded on video and will be featured on Dutch National Television. The program will also contain taped interview material as well as the concert footage. Susan's Sparrow label mate Charlie Peacock has been busy producing a praise and worship album. Coram Deo, Latin for "Under the Gaze of God," includes songs from Michael Card, Michael English, Out of the Grey and Ashton. By the way, Ashton's new project, produced by Wayne Kirkpatrick, should be out in late spring or early summer.

Last month saw the release of First Call's Human Song. Now you can see the trio perform on Saturday, May 16, at Kentucky Kingdom Amusement Park. It's part of the Christian Family Fun Day at the Park. First Call will perform two concerts: an afternoon show at 4:00 and an evening concert at 8:00. Both concerts are free with your paid admission to Kentucky Kingdom. We'll see you there!

CCM Music Picks

Ask Me Amy Grant

Heaven is a Long Hello Billy Sprague

God's Love Never Changes

Dick & Mel Tunney

I'm Still Here Bruce Carroll

Broken Places First Call

Shine Out the Light Al Denson

When Love Comes Home Sheila Walsh

Still He Gives Love Glad

Arise, My Soul, Arise Twila Paris

Who Will Call Him King of Kings

Sandi Patti