Contemporary Christian Music Watch
By Jim Galipeau

There's an old Gaither Vocal Band song called "Rumormill" that summarizes the latest news regarding which company will purchase what record label. It's a little confusing, so let's see if I can clear the air. ABC/Capcities recently announced they were putting Word Inc. on the sale block. About the same time Zondervan announced its proposed buy-out from parent company Harper-Collins. Now the management of Harper-Collins are seriously looking at buying Word! Meanwhile, Star Song announced that its acquisition by Thomas Nelson Publishers has been cancelled. There's also been "talk" of a meeting between the heads of Sparrow with the big shots from Liberty Records. What can you say except . . . "go figure!"

Last month I told you about the story in Cornerstone Magazine alleging that Christian comedian Mike Warnke's past was just a "story." At that time Word Records was standing behind their artist. On August 6, Word issued a statement saying they were suspending promotion and sales of Mike's latest project. The suspension was in light of a recent article in the Lexington Times Herald Leader questioning Warnke's financial integrity. Part of Word's announcement says, "We trust and believe Mike Warnke will respond comprehensively to these media allegations." Word evidently doesn't consider the latest allegations to be a laughing matter.

Russ Taff has been fighting off gossip lately. Reports out of Nashville indicated Russ had signed with Liberty Records and was cutting an album to be distributed to both country and Christian markets. Russ Taff denies the reports, saying he has signed with no one! You will hear Russ belt out the theme for the telecast of ABC's College Football this fall.

More TV news, this time from the world of afternoon soaps. The song "I Love You More," by Angelo & Veronica was heard during the CBS soap "As the World Turns." The Benson husband-and-wife duo will have the song released to mainstream radio on the A&M label. A different song will be released to Christian Radio. Former long-time Sparrow artist Steve Camp is now in the Warner Alliance camp. He's signed a long-term recording agreement, with the first release scheduled for mid-1993. Meanwhile, Benson has signed the Australian rock/rap/funk band Noisy Little Sunbeams. You can look for this interesting band's first American release any day now.

Recording studios are getting a workout these days with a stream of new releases being finalized. September will see the new 4 Him project, The Basics of Life. In October: Twila Paris, The Imperials, and Whitecross will all bring new tapes and CDs to Christian bookstores, and expect a video from Forefront, taped during the Cornerstone Festival, called Larry Howard's Cornerstone Blues Jam Vol. I. The video features Larry jamming with the likes of Margaret Becker, Mark Farner, Vernessa Mitchell, Eddie Degarmo, Jessie Dixon, Darrell Mansfield, and Rex Carroll of Whitecross. In November, Steve Green's new album, devotional book and video that centers around the classic hymns. Others that are "studio-izing" . . . Babbie Mason, Glen Campbell and Phil Driscoll.

Congrats go to new dad Steve Geyer and his wife Kathy on the birth of their second child, Grahm William. No doubt that funny man Geyer will be adding new-baby and sibling-rivalry jokes to his comedy act.

Vireo artist Lisa Bevill was recently honored with the Gold Star Award at the Houston International Film and Video Festival. She received the award in the Music Video Religious category for "Chaperone." In the U.S. Industry Film and Video Festival, Steve Green's "Hide "Em In Your Heart" took the honor in the Religion, Ethics and Brotherhood category.

Wayne Watson and Band, along with Bruce Carroll, hit the road for a 32-city tour promoting Wayne's new greatest hit release How Time Flies. The crew rolls into Louisville in October. Information on the concert coming soon on 88.5 FM. In the meantime let's enjoy the September 15 concert of Steven Curtis Chapman, Susan Ashton and Out of the Grey!

WJIE Picks

"It Just Takes Time" Larnelle Harris

"Breaking the Law of Love" Bruce Carroll

"Just One Word" 2nd Chapter of Acts

"One More Soul" Dallas Holm

"So Many Books" Michael Card

"Wasn't It Love" Tom McCain

"Sins of Billions" Rob Frazier

"The Just Shall Live" Rich Mullins

"Grace By Which I Stand" Steve Green

"Somewhere Within the Heart" Carman & Cindy Morgan