Contemporary Christian Music Watch
By Jim Galipeau

The winds will be blowing stronger, the temperatures rising and lovely songbirds that have been gone for months will reappear. Now all we need is baseball! It's spring! It's also a time when a bird totally devoted to music delivers its nominees for awards to be handed out in the spring to Christian musicians, artists, producers and writers. This will be the 26th time the Dove Awards are given to the tops in each category. The Dove Awards show will be held in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry April 27 and aired on the Family Channel live from 8-l0 p.m.

Steven Curtis Chapman was this year's big Dove Award nominee, receiving eight, topping last year's seven nominations. Coming in a close second with seven nominations each were Twila Paris and Steve Taylor. Amy Grant had six.

Our man from Paducah, Ky., reeled in the nomination for the Artist of the Year, which he won in 1993. Joining him are Twila Paris, Amy Grant, Point of Grace and 4 Him. Steven is also hoping to recapture Male Vocalist of the Year which he held in '91. His competition this year is Louisvillian Larnelle Harris, Gary Chapman (no relation), Clay Crosse and Bryan Duncan. Chapman has held the title of Songwriter of the Year several years. Ray BoItz, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Twila Paris and Charlie Peacock will attempt In dethrone him as king of the pen.

Speaking of Charlie Peacock and Wayne Kirkpatrick, they've been nominated for Producer of the Year, along with Brown Bannister, Michael Omartian and Steve Taylor. Peacock and Kirkpatrick also have songs nominated for Song of the Year.

Last years Female Vocalist of the Year, Twila Paris, was once again nominated for that honor, along with former Female Vocalist of the Year, Sandi Patty, who would probably like to get a new Dove Award with the new spelling of her last name. Also in the running are Amy Grant, Susan Ashton, Christine Dents, Kathy Troccoli and Steven Curtis Chapman! What! No, sorry Steven, that is just for the ladies.

Speaking of ladies, Susan Ashton, Christine Dente and Margaret Becker, who make up Ashton, Becker, Dante, have been nominated for Group of the Year. Dove holder for the past two years 4 Him was nominated as well as DC Talk, Newsboys and Point of Grace.

Of local interest, the metal band Bride has been nominated for Metal Album of the Year for Scarecrow Messiah and for Metal Song of the Year for "Beast." As mentioned earlier, Larnelle Harris is up for Male Vocalist of the Year and his Beyond All the Limits has been nominated for Inspirational Album of the Year.

In other news, Christian country artist Brian Becker is going back into the studio and I'm looking forward to hearing what his new album will sound like. The reason is that Russ Taft and good friend James Hollihan Jr. will be Barrett's producers. This is Brian's second Star Song prpject and is scheduled to be out late this year.

The founding member of Commissioned is retiring. Fred Hammond says he will continue to work on some projects for the Benson Music Group. Meanwhile, Commissioned will hold auditions for a replacement for Hammond.

If you're A big Nintendo player, be listening for some familiar voices on a new game. "Sunday Funday – The Ride." The two games on one cartridge will feature the theme "fishers of men" and will also try to excite kids about going to church. 4 Him is the first Contemporary Christian group to be featured in a Nintendo game. As you might have expected, the song "The Ride" plays during the game, which will release in April.

Congratulations to Renee Garcia Bliss and Lang Bliss of Bliss Bliss on the birth of their first baby, Zane Mason Parker Bliss. I was disappointed though; a recent contest winner had suggested Bliss-Tex!

Finally, here': a complete list of the titles nominated for Song of the Year: "America Again,""Children of the World," "Creed," "For Future Generations," "God Is In Control," "Heaven In the Real World," "I Pledge Allegiance to the lamb." "I Surrender All," "Jesus Will Still Be There," "My Life Is In Your Hands," "Say the Name," "Teach Me to Live," and "We Believe In God."