Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

Finally, a show I can really get excited about! And it's free! My two favorite four letter words are "free" and "rock." I also like "taco" and "naps." Anyway, Day of Fire, one of my favorite new bands will play a free show in Louisville on the third of March.

Front man Joshua Brown is the former lead singer of Full Devil Jacket (Island/Def Jam Records) who turned away from his rock-star lifestyle after surviving a heroin overdose and finding God while in rehabilitation. FDJ was the next band to sign with Wind-Up Records after Creed, so expectations were very high (no pun intended) for the band's success. In some ways, those expectations were fulfilled. I don't know how many units the band sold, but I know they participated in some huge tours including Tattoo the Earth with Slipknot and many others.

I had a chance to meet Brown last fall and was blown away by his totally straightforward attitude about the new faith and his desire to share it with others. If you go to the show and get to meet him, I know you'll agree.

But it's not just that. The music is really good. It's a little "modern rock" and somewhat Creed-sounding (not what I enjoy), but there's just a touch of artists like Down and Jerry Cantrell to keep things interesting.

While I have not been totally enamored with the band's self-titled debut, I see loads of potential. Brown teamed up with guitarist Gregg Hionis in his hometown of Jackson, Tenn. and the two co-wrote the Day of Fire debut. The album is produced by Scott Humphrey (Metallica, Motley Crue, Rob Zombie) and features Chris Chaney (Jane's Addiction) on bass, drummer Gary Novak and guitarist Phil X, (Alanis Morissette, Avril Lavigne, Andrew W.K), along with Matthew Nelson (Nelson) on back-up vocals.

I love rock shows and in the Christian realm they are few and far between, at least here in Louisville. So I have to be excited when a tour actually comes to town. By the way, I tried to get an interview with Brown for this month's column, but was unable to by press time. Maybe I'll be able to line that up in the months ahead. I'd love for you to learn more about him and the band.

You can watch a video biography at the band's website (dayoffire.com), to get more information.

Sanctus Real will be headlining. The mini-tour (fewer than ten dates) was developed by the same people that have the Ichthus Festival each year. Both bands will also be appearing at Ichthus as well next month in Wilmore. But unlike that huge event, this one is, as I said, free. So no excuses, if you like somewhat heavy rock. Don't miss it! The concert is Thursday the 3rd, 6:30 p.m. at Hurstbourne Baptist Church (Brown never played there with Slipknot by the way). I hope to see you there.

Just announced: Michael W. Smith will be in concert at Broadbent Arena on April 28th. Selah (who I don't believe ever toured with Full Devil Jacket) is opening. Tickets are available now at all TicketMaster outlets.

Nominations for the 36th Annual GMA Music Awards were announced with top-sellers and new artists leading the field of nominees for the Dove Awards. A complete nominations list is available at www.gmamusicawards.com.

Michael W. Smith leads the Dove nominations with eight individual nominations. Casting Crowns follows with seven nominations and lead singer/songwriter Mark Hall adds six individual nominations of his own. The Crabb Family also nabbed six nominations while the group's patriarch, Gerald Crabb, earned six nominations for his songwriting.

Switchfoot's nominations totaled five and frontman Jonathan Foreman added another three of his own; and in the reverse, Israel Houghton earned five Dove nominations with his group Israel & New Breed receiving two nominations. MercyMe and Matthew West round out the leading nominee list with five each. Artists with four nominations include Steven Curtis Chapman, BarlowGirl, Selah, Jeremy Camp, Martha Munizzi, Martin Smith, Joe Pace, Sanctus Real, J Moss and Matt Redman.

The five artists nominated by GMA members for Artist of the Year are Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Selah, Michael W. Smith and Switchfoot. Male Vocalist of the Year nominees are Jeremy Camp, Jason Crabb, Mark Hall, Israel Houghton and Fernando Ortega. Bethany Dillon, Natalie Grant, Nicole C. Mullen, Christy Nockels and Joy Williams are nominated in the Female Vocalist of the Year Category. Artists up for Group of the Year are Casting Crowns, The Crabb Family, MercyMe, Selah and Switchfoot. The New Artist of the Year nominees BarlowGirl, Building 429, Day of Fire, Bethany Dillon and Matthew West all prove to be strong contenders with multiple nominations in other categories.

"This year's slate of Dove nominees once again demonstrates that gospel knows no musical boundaries. The nominees share a common faith, while their music is expressed in many diverse ways. It's great to see Southern Gospel, Urban, Rock, Pop and Worship artists all earning recognition through the nominations and it will make the GMA Music Awards show one amazing night of music," said John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association (GMA).

Word Records' Artist and American Idol finalist George Huff, leading nominee Integrity Music's Israel Houghton and Curb Records' Artist and Female Vocalist of the Year nominee Natalie Grant announced the Dove Award nominations at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville. The Doves will be handed out on April 13 at the Grand Ole Opry House.

Awards will be handed out in 44 categories. The Songwriter of the Year nominees and winner are announced during the GMA Music Awards. Dove Awards nominations go to recordings released during the eligibility year November 1, 2003 through October 31, 2004 and voted on by the members of the GMA. In categories where nominations go to the artist and songwriter and/or producer, the artist may receive two nominations for that category if they are the artist and songwriter and/or producer for that category.

Things are starting to shape up for this year, concert-wise. I'm already hearing about things in the fall that may be of interest to you (no Soul Embraced shows to interest me!). But some events are coming together as we speak. Look for the information in future issues of LMN!