Contemporary Christian Music Watch
By Jim Galipeau

Have you ever moved? Last month the radio station at which I work moved to a new location. As you know, whenever you move you live out of boxes before the move and for many months after the move. I was so "wrapped up" I missed my own column and for that I ask your forgiveness! Now on with the news.

Back in April, Icthus Festival was held here in Kentucky, and the boys from the Australia band Newsboys were a megahit! In fact, when over 3,000 festivalgoers showed up at the merchandise tent after the show to get autographs, fire marshals had to disperse the crowd. I'd say that's a really hot band! July 2 the Newsboys, Kim Fields from Facts of Life and a one-man volleyball team will appear on a special teen episode of the 700 Club.

Don't unplug that TV set yet, because CCM-TV will be airing a series of live acoustic "unplugged" performances recorded recently before a small audience. Ten to 15 artists will perform two songs each for the show, which will be hosted by Steven Curtis Chapman.

Speaking of Steven and live audiences, he recorded a new live album and video at the Seattle Center Arena. The project includes lots of concert favorites, songs from The Great Adventure and, of course, his previous hits. You can expect to see this Sparrow release August 30.

Rumor has it that Amy Grant is in the studio working on her follow-up to Heart in Motion, but no one is talking. However, I do know that Amy will have a project in the store by August containing favorite songs from their youth group that meets in The Loft. Performers on the disc include Amy and hubby Gary, Michael James, Jimmy A and Wes King.

Tim Miner is a busy man these days. Tim's working on a new album for none other than Paula Abdul. He's also slated to help with the next Take 6 project and Freddie Jackson's next album. On the gospel side, he's working on new projects from the Jets, Rhema and his wife Cindy Cruse. In addition to all that, he's started on his next Motown album! I get tired just reading about all this guy's doing.

Also in the studio is Kim Hill. Wayne Kirkpatrick is producing a country-flavored release to be out in February. Congrats go to Kim and her husband Rob Schuler on the birth of Graham Caleb back in May.

Be expecting projects this summer from Geoff Moore and the Distance, Annie Herring, Michelle Wagner, Kathy Troccoli, Angelo & Veronica and a hot new a cappella group, Straight Company. By the way, Straight Company is from Louisville. I've seen them perform and they are great!

The Benson Music Group has signed a couple of rockers to long-term recording contracts. Michael Sweet, former lead singer of Stryper, will go on a major tour following the release of his first project in early 1994. Meanwhile, Ken Tamplin of Joshua, Shout and Magdalen fame will release his first project, titled Tamplin, in September.

Some more congrats to pass along ... to Susan Ashton and J.D. Cunningham on their recent May marriage. Baby Sophia Elise was born to Marabeth Jordan of First Call and her husband Paul in March. Finally, pianist Dino and Cheryl Kartsonakis are now proud grandparents! What was the grandchild Lauren Taylor Bonar's first present from her grandparents? A baby grand piano!

You'll want to be looking and listening for additional information on two big upcoming concerts in August. The Newsong Festival happens August 20 and 21 and the State Fair concert happens August 23. By the way, I'll be back next month. I promise.

WJIE PICKS

More God Newsong
Starting to Rain Pam Thum

Give It Away Michael W. Smith

This is the Life Phillips, Craig & Dean

Give Me Jesus Tavani

I Believe Wes King

I Can't Believe My Eyes

Gaither Vocal Band

This is Love Lesley Glassford

Two Hearts, One Love

Trace Balin & Jerome Olds

We're All Looking Imperials