Contemporary Christian Music Watch
By Jim Galipeau

It was another banner year for a Kentucky Colonel. It was April first, known by all of us as April Fool's Day, but it was no joke that Steven Curtis Chapman received six Doves that night in Nashville.

Steven Curtis Chapman was named Artist of the Year for the third time in the past four years. It was also Steven's fifth year to be awarded with the Dove for Songwriter of the Year. His latest album, The Great Adventure, won Contemporary Album of the Year, Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year and the prized over-all Song of the Year. Geoff Moore also received a couple of Doves for his help in co-writing "The Great Adventure" with Steven Curtis Chapman. "The Great Adventure" video was also a winner as Short Form Video of the Year. Steven's name was on one other Dove for Choral Album of the Year, The Steven Curtis Chapman Choral Collection, created by Tom Hartley and Randy Smith.

The only Dove Steven didn't take home that he was nominated for was Male Vocalist of the Year. This year, for the second time, Michael English topped Bruce Carroll, Michael W. Smith and Larnelle Harris for best male crooner. Michael English's hit "In Christ Alone" received the Dove for Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year.

After winning the Dove eleven years in a row for Female Vocalist of the Year, Sandi Patti asked if she could hand out the award since she was unable to be nominated. Twila Paris will go down in history as the one to unseat the Queen of Gospel for Female Vocalist of the Year.

Group of the Year honors went to 4 Him. A couple of years ago 4 Him received the Dove for New Artist of the Year, but this year Cindy Morgan won over Angelo & Veronica, Out of the Grey, Phillips, Craig & Dean and Pray for Rain.

Congratulations to metal band Bride. For the second year in a row the local group won the Dove for Metal Recorded Song of the Year. The tune was "Rattlesnake," written by Troy and Dale Thompson, Rik Foley and Jerry McBroom. Due to the lack of nominees there was no Dove awarded for Metal Album of the Year.

Other noteworthy winners include Pray for Rain with their debut album winning Rock Album of the Year.' The new group beat out such powerhouses as White Heart, Petra and Geoff Moore & the Distance. Rock Recorded Song of the Year went to Petra for "Destiny." D C. Talk took home the Dove for Rap Recorded Song of the Year for "Can I Get a Witness?" Paul Overstreet proved that "Love Is Strong" by winning Country Album of the Year at the 24th Annual Dove Awards.

On Monday morning the same week the Dove awards, the Gospel Music Association gave out some awards also. Word Incorporated won the Lifetime Achievement Award; The Impact Award went to The Young Messiah Tour. Arsenio Hall was honored with Contribution to Gospel Music by a Secular Entertainer and funny man Mark Lowry received the Grady Nutt Humor Award.

In other gospel music week news, Warner Alliance announced the signing of wild man Steve Taylor to a long-term recording contract. Integrity Music announced the signing of Susie Luchsinger to a recording contract for some Christian country albums. You may be saying, "Who?" Does the name Reba McIntire mean anything?! That is Susie's sister who she toured with in the early '80s. Sparrow records also announced that week that they would be producing a new recording of the Young Messiah featuring Steven Curtis Chapman, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Sandi Patti, Steve Green, Michael English, Twila Paris and 4 Him. There will also be a 12-city tour to support the release.

Add another chapter to the Mike. Warnke Saga. On April 5, Word, Inc. and Mike Warnke agreed to terminate their 18-year relationship. The break-up follows Warnke's recent release of the "Council of Elders" report on his ministry and alleged falsehoods in his testimony. Word says "they support his continued submission to authority and will continue to pray for his full restoration as a contributing member of the Christian Music Community." Word has granted full return privileges on Warnke product through the end of May. Warnke's future material will be available through a Wamke affiliated company in Burgin, Kentucky, The Mercy Company.

Keep your eyes on Christian bookstore shelves for the new Mark Lowry video. While I was in Nashville during GMA week, I received a pre-release video and it was a hoot! You'll especially enjoy the video within the video, "Baby, Baby Why Not Me?"complete with Mark's unique dalmatian suit!

The Winans have been in L.A. working on their new project due this summer. All Out features guest performers Kenny Loggins and Ricky Van Shelton. Another all-male group be in the studio thinking cool thoughts; 4 Him begins production on their first Christmas album for Benson.

Finally, the group Newsong's first single, "All Around the World," was recently tested by a consumer research group in the Northwest. The testing group, consisting of several pop music buyers, listened to several singles: Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing," Michael Bolton's "Reach Out" and Aladdin's theme "A Whole New World."

The consumer group gave "All Around the World" one of the highest ratings, positioning it on the research group's "recommended playlist." The results were mailed to top adult contemporary radio stations around the country. Newsong and Michael W. Smith were the only two Christian artists to receive ratings from adult contemporary buyers.

Now you can see Newsong when they perform in two shows at Kentucky Kingdom on Saturday, May 22, for Christian Family Fun Day. The concerts, in the Summer Moon Amphitheater, will be free with your admission to the Fair.

WJIE Music Pics

Give It Away Michael W. Smith

That's Paradise Steven Curtis Chapman

Hand On My Shoulder Sandi Patti

Holding Out Hope to You Michael English

Once In a Lifetime David Meece

The Robe Wes King

Alice In Wonderland Susan Ashton

Heal Our Land Michael Card

Talk About It Phil Driscoll

In a Father's Heart Kathy Troccoli