2011 Dove Awards Nominees

The 2011 Dove Award nominees were announced yesterday. Dozens of Southern Gospel-related nominations were handed out, both in Southern Gospel-specific and overall categories.

Song of the Year

“Sometimes I Cry” (Jason Crabb) and “Love Came Calling” (Triumphant Quartet) were among the ten nominations in this category. This category is consistently dominated by CCM, so these stand little chance.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Doug Anderson and Jason Crabb picked up two of the seven nominations. No Southern Gospel singer has won this category for decades, and that’s regrettably unlikely to change soon.

Female Vocalist of the Year

Janet Paschal picked up a surprising nomination here—surprising since it has been a number of years since she’s released a mainline project, and since she’s had less recent exposure at radio and major venues than in the past. It’s virtually guaranteed that a non-Southern Gospel performer will win this category.

Group of the Year

Ernie Haase & Signature Sound and the Gaither Vocal Band picked up two of the seven nominations, thus splitting the Southern Gospel vote and weakening the chances that either will get it.

Artist of the Year

This is the highest award at the Dove Awards; Jason Crabb and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound received two of the seven nominations.

Producer of the Year

Wayne Haun received one of five nominations. Many of the Southern Gospel nominations, especially in the general categories, are Haun-produced artists.

Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year

  • “Better Day,” Gaither Vocal Band
  • “Faithful One,” Booth Brothers
  • “I Thirst,” Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
  • “Love Came Calling,” Triumphant Quartet

It’s intriguing to see a cover of a 1993 Cathedrals song pick up a nomination. This list actually has a strong enough selection, both of songs that did well through the year and of groups with established brands and voting bases, that it would be remarkably hard to peg a likely winner.

Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year

  • “I’m Going to Make Heaven My Home (Lewis Tradition)
  • “Mountaintop” (Lizzy Long & Little Roy Lewis)

Interestingly, the Lewis Family brand is still strong enough to pick up two of the nominations in the category, to groups that came out of the disbanding.

Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year

  • “I Feel a Song Coming On,” Ryan Seaton

Country Recorded Song of the Year

  • “Are You the One”; Breathe Deep; Guy Penrod; Tammy Hyler, Shaye Smith; Gaither Music Group
  • “Living In the Arms Of Mercy”; Something’s Happening; The Hoppers; Joel Lindsey, Jeff Silvey; Spring Hill Music Group, Hopper Music
  • “Run and Tell”; Shine; Bowling Family; Wayne Haun, Ray Davis, Marty Funderburk; Big Ten House of Music

Will the Dove voters go for one of the three Southern Gospel-connected artists? Point of Grace, who dominated Adult Contemporary before heading to Christian Country? Or the Oak Ridge Boys, best known as a bona fide country act who included an applicable Gospel song on their latest secular release?

Inspirational Album of the Year

  • A capella (Brian Free & Assurance)
  • Acoustic Sunday (Kevin Williams)
  • The Stage Is Bare (Ryan Seaton)

While Sandi Patty—the queen of Inspirational music for years—is a strong contender in the category, this is one category not specific to Southern Gospel that stands a pretty decent chance of going to an SG act.

Southern Gospel Album of the Year

  • A Tribute to the Cathedral Quartet (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
  • Greatly Blessed (Gaither Vocal Band)
  • Never Walk Alone (Brian Free & Assurance)
  • Shine (Bowling Family)
  • Something’s Happening (The Hoppers)

If the GMA voting base heard all five, I’d venture to say that Never Walk Alone or Shine would win. As it stands, Gaither naturally has the most name recognition. So will that carry the day, or will BFA pull off an upset?

Bluegrass Album of the Year

  • …Oh Well (Chigger Hill Boys & Terri)
  • Light On My Feet, Ready To Fly (Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver)
  • Singing From the Heart (Dailey & Vincent)

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver and Dailey & Vincent both stand decent chances of a win here.

Country Album of the Year

  • Breathe Deep (Guy Penrod)
  • Expecting Good Things (Jeff & Sherri Easter)
  • Times Like These (Austins Bridge)

Instrumental Album of the Year

  • Joy Comes In the Morning (Stan Whitmire)

Christmas Album of the Year

  • The Isaacs Christmas (The Isaacs)

Choral Collection of the Year

  • Big Mighty God; Lari Goss, Russell Mauldin; Word Music
  • National Quartet Convention Collection; Marty Hamby; Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing

It’s particularly intriguing to see NQC get a nod in this category.

Long Form Music Video of the Year

  • A Tribute to the Cathedral Quartet (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
  • Count Your Blessings (Bill and Gloria Gaither and Homecoming Friends)

This is enough of a down-ticket category that either stands a chance.

So, do any of you dare go out further on a limb than I have and offer some predictions here?

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Southern Gospel comes up empty at Grammy® Awards

While the Grammy® Awards’ voting base consistently honors major players in a field in other award categories (like CCM’s “Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album”), they often show a distinct bias in our category towards artists from secular genres who record a token Gospel project. That bias struck again this year, as country act Diamond Rio received the “Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album” award, over two Southern Gospel nominees (Jeff & Sheri Easter and Karen Peck & New River) and two other nominees, Christian Country act Austins Bridge and country artist Ty Herndon.

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Singing News reinstates Favorite Band category

As mentioned yesterday, Singing News announced last night that Favorite Band category is returning to the Singing News Fan Awards.

This is the most official acknowledgment yet that live music is on its way back in our genre. When I wrote a now-timely post seventeen days ago that I’d only review DVDs with live music, it was not without grounds: In the last year or so, three of Southern Gospel’s top ten quartets have either added a band or expanded theirs. The Dove Brothers went from a pianist to a three-piece band; Ernie Haase and Signature Sound went from a pianist to a three-piece (and more recently a four-piece) band; and, the Inspirations added utility instrumentalist Luke Vaught and went from a two-piece to a three-piece. Of course, the consistently top-10-nominated Kingdom Heirs have been the only top-10 male quartet to consistently maintain a three-piece band since and through the heyday of live music.

Here’s hoping that this is just the beginning.

* * *

Oh, and Singing News also reinstituted the Favorite Small/Medium/Large Market DJs and added the category of Favorite Southern Gospel Internet Radio Program. If that is important enough to the genre to be worth a category, and industry website isn’t, perhaps this site should launch a weekly radio program with the news highlights of the week—and maybe audio interviews, too!

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Dixie Melody Boys inducted into a Hall of Fame

The Christian Music Hall of Fame in Texas recently announced that they will be inducting the Dixie Melody Boys in November; other inductees this year Wayne Watson, Take 6, Nicole C. Mullen, DeGarmo and Key, Jeoffrey Beward and Susie Luchsinger.

This organization should not be confused with the most recognized hall of fame, the Gospel Music Association’s Gospel Music Hall of Fame in Tennessee, or with the Southern Gospel Music Association’s Southern Gospel Hall of Fame in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

This year also marks the Dixie Melody Boys’ 50th Anniversary; owner/manager Ed O’Neal stated: “I am more excited about the future of the group than I have been in many years. With so many special events and projects planned for this year, 2011 will be a great year for the Dixie Melody Boys.”

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Grammy nominations announced

It is a good thing that Grammy and Dove nominations are not announced on a daily basis, for if they were, I would surely be scratching my head so much that I would have to find a toupee. The Grammy nominations were announced yesterday; the nominees in the best Southern/Country/Bluegrass Gospel album were:

  • Times Like These, Austins Bridge
  • The Reason, Diamond Rio
  • Expecting Good Things, Jeff and Sheri Easter
  • Journey On, Ty Herndon
  • Live at Oak Tree, Karen Peck and New River

Of the three Southern Gospel nominees, the Easter nomination makes the most sense; though they’re not necessarily among Southern Gospel’s three most prominent groups, they’re high profile enough for the nomination to be reasonable—especially since it’s a well-executed and well-promoted mainline release with a compelling backstory.

The first time Karen Peck and New River picked up a Grammy nomination, some wondered if they had a Grammy-level high profile within the genre. Few would raise that question now that this is their third; here, it’s the project nominated that is odd. Live at Oak Tree is a video/CD recorded in a recording studio; unlike a mainline release debuting radio hits and concert favorites, here, the group sang songs made familiar by previous recordings. Though promoted as a peek inside the studio, the format is that of a live concert with the studio as the venue. So while it’s no particular surprise to see the group pick up a nomination, it’s odd that this particular recording would be nominated.

The most peculiar nomination of the three, and probably of the whole list, is the Austins Bridge album. The group never made significant inroads into Southern Gospel, and by some accounts disbanded some months ago; their website is still public, but an empty tour schedule lends credence to those accounts. So even if the nomination was to go to another artist on the same label, the Booth Brothers’ landmark recording Declaration would have led a list of several far more obvious picks.

All in all, this list reinforces the common assumption that the Grammy voting base appears to have little knowledge of our genre.

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2010 Singing News Fan Awards: The Results

This year, the Singing News Fan Awards was held at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for the first time; as another first, it was also streamed online via UStream. The UStream statistics showed an average of about 850 watching throughout the show, with a peak of 1150.

There were few surprises in this year’s Fan Awards; in most cases, last year’s winner and/or the expected front-runner won. A complete list of winners is here.

As expected, veteran singer Tony Greene’s relatively sudden passing Tuesday afternoon provided several of the evening’s most emotional moments. Most notably was the quiet but striking statement of faith offered by Tony’s niece Karlye Hopper as she accepted the Favorite Female vocalist award on behalf of her mother, Kim Hopper. She closed by saying she wanted to “thank our Lord for everything He gives us . . . and everything he takes away.”

Little Jan Buckner Goff and Connie Hopper also provided special moments in their Hall of Fame Acceptance speeches. Goff told how she had become an orphan as a child, living in ten different places in the two years after her mother’s passing. She expressed what an honor it was to go, literally, “from an orphanage to the SGMA hall of fame, what an honor.”

Connie Hopper shared how inadequate she felt to be receiving awards and honors, and standing on that stage, expressing how often she felt that she should be in the audience as other, more talented individuals performed and received the honors. She said it was an honor to be in the SGMA Hall of Fame, though she felt unworthy of it, and added: “Hebrews Chapter 11 talks about Heaven’s Hall of Fame – that’s the one I strive for.”

The oddest moment of the night was provided by a third Hopper, Claude: In an apparent Fan Awards reference, Hopper, who is a National Quartet Convention board member, began his acceptance speech for the Hoppers’ Mixed Group award by stating that this would be his last chance to “do this” until next September, in Louisville at the National Quartet Convention.

“If You Knew Him,” co-written by Joseph Habedank and Rodney Griffin and performed by the Perrys, was both the Song of the Year and the de facto song of the night. Based on the low-resolution video/audio feed, it was the song that appeared to get the strongest response (and a standing ovation) when it was performed, and there was also a standing ovation when it was named song of the year. This win, the Perrys’ first for Song of the Year, is sure to cement the song as a signature song both for the group and for its co-author and featured vocalist, Joseph Habedank.

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Singing News (SGMA) announces Fan Awards performers, guests

Yesterday, Singing News posted a list of performers and guests at this year’s Fan Awards, the first not at the National Quartet Convention in many years. They were able to arrange for appearances by a number of the nominees, including all five up for “Favorite Artist.” Announced performers and guests include:

  • Booth Brothers
  • Brian Free & Assurance
  • Greater Vision
  • Guy Penrod
  • Inspirations
  • Jason Crabb
  • Karen Peck & New River
  • Kingdom Heirs
  • Legacy Five
  • McKameys (Hat Tip, Brady)
  • Perrys
  • Ronny Hinson
  • Triumphant Quartet
  • Whisnants

This means that nominees not listed as attending (“listed as” being the operative phrase) include:

  • Ball Brothers (1 nomination)
  • Charlotte Ritchie (2 nominations)
  • Collingsworth Family (2 nominations)
  • Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (4 nominations)
  • Gaither Vocal Band (1 nomination) – though Gaither himself is expected to be there and could accept on David Phelps’ behalf if Phelps wins.
  • Gold City (1 nomination)
  • Gordon Mote (1 nomination)
  • Greenes (3 nominations)
  • Hoppers (4 nominations)
  • Isaacs (2 nominations)
  • Ivan Parker (2 nominations)
  • Jeff & Sheri Easter (5 nominations)
  • Mark Bishop (1 nomination)
  • Mark Trammell Quartet (1 nomination, counting Pat Barker)
  • McKameys (3 nominations)
  • Nelons (1 nomination)
  • Soul’d Out (1 nomination)
  • Talley Trio (1 nomination)

Again, despite the fact that the announcement listed “performers” and “other guests,” some of these other nominees may well end up making it out.

UPDATE (9/10/10): It has been clarified to me that the story linked above is an SGMA (Southern Gospel Music Association) press release, not a Singing News press release, and may not be inclusive of all performers attending.

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