The 42nd Annual GMA Dove Award Pre-Show was held this afternoon in the Eqyptian Ballroom inside Atlanta’s historic Fox Theatre.
Bishop Paul S. Morton, official chaplain for the GMA Doves, opened the event with an altogether appropriate prayer, declaring “How excellent is your name in all the earth, Lord...” He then welcomed the ‘southern hospitality’ co-host Jason Crabb, who rocked a seriously fine black suit. But the fashion award was easily won by Crabb’s co-host, the stunning Nicole C. Mullen in her sparkly coral/orange gown.
The first award of the afternoon went to:
Urban Recorded Song of the Year: “Wait On the Lord,” Lola Godheld
Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year: Love God, Love People, Israel Houghton
A great candidate for ‘locks of love,’ country/gospel singer/songwriter Guy Penrod gave a beautiful acoustic performance of "Knowing What I Know About Heaven.” This Guy has probably never needed Pro-Tools in his life!
Karen Peck Gooch joined Mullen to announce the following awards:
Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year: “Better Day,” by Gaither Vocal Band, Connie Harrington, Steven Jones
Traditional Gospel Recorded Song of the Year: “Go Tell It On the Mountain” by Jason Crabb
Crabb thanked his label, his band and his wife. Members of his band arranged the song. "This is cool," he said. "God Bless."
Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year: “Mountaintop,” by Lizzy Long & Little Roy Lewis, by Wayne Haun, Lyn Rowell & Lizzy Long
Wayne Haun, a musical jack-of-all-genres, thanked GMA “for including bluegrass in this incredible day.”
Crabb was apparently asked to pause so that an audio problem could be corrected in the press room. The pause lasted a bit, and the crowd began to grow a bit restless, so like a total professional, Crabb spontaneously began entertaining the crowd with a bluesy version of “Jesus on the Mainline,” accompanied by pianist Blaine Johnson. The entire crowd stood to its feet, clapping and singing along. Joined on stage by his brother Aaron Crabb and Karen Peck Gooch for a stunning jazz-infused rendition of “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” followed by “He’s All I Need” – all this on the fly, while awaiting a sound glitch repair.
Crabb’s longtime signature song, “Take You Through the Fire Again,” finished out the impromptu performance, rousing a standing ovation from the audience.
Mullen performed a cover of Andrae Crouch’s “My Tribute” from her new record Captivated, produced by Dove nominee Ed Cash, transitioning into "Redeemer,” her signature hit from 2003.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Mullen said. “For His glory!”
Gooch joined Mullen to announce:
Bluegrass Album of the Year: Singing From the Heart, Dailey & Vincent (Rounder Records, sponsored by Cracker Barrell Country Stores) which has raised more than $60,000 to send kids to Bible College.
Country Album of the Year: No Changing Me, Point of Grace
Point of Grace’s Shelley Breen said, “We’ve been with Word for 20 years... It’s been such a fun experience for us. We are so thankful to still be making music.” She mentioned that Ricky Skaggs' record Mosaic was one of their favorites and they were honored to be in the category with him.
Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year: No Far Away, Chris August
August and producer Ed Cash accepted the award.
“I’m having an asthma attack,” August said. “I’ve never won an award for anything. Thanks Word... Ed, say something profound. Give ‘em something to work with.”
Cash said when he first heard August’s collection of songs, he was blown away by his talent and didn’t think the songs needed anything he could do for them, but he was so thankful for what happened with the project.
Inspirational Album of the Year: Two-way tie, Downtown Church, Patty Griffin and Edge of the Divine by Sandi Patty...
Patty was on hand to accept. At her side was her oldest daughter, who happened to have executive-produced the album.
“I am so blessed to work with Chance Scoggins,” Patty said. “Thanks, Word Records.”
Scoggins: “Sandi Patty: forever the queen of Christian music.”
Ben Green with Food for the Hungry: “I am grateful for the people in this room who made the decision to wake the Church up and refused to silent on behalf of the poor. Your partnerships have allowed us to reach some of the hardest places in the planet.”
Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Truth crushed to earth will rise again. No lie will live forever... However? Not long... The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice. How long? Not long... ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory... Glory Hallelujah! His truth is marching on...’”
Dove nominee August, who looks a bit like a young Elvis Costello (or maybe it’s the hair and the skinny tie), gives an acoustic performance of his Dove-nominated for Song of the Year “Starry Night.” See the video here.
Multi-Dove nominated Jason Ingram and August, both wearing Converse, together announced:
Rock Recorded Song of the Year: “Start Again,” RED
Kevin from Disciple came up to accept, calling RED’s lead singer and putting him on speaker phone.
Choral Collection of the Year: Declare Your Name by Carol Cymbala and Jason Michael Webb... Brooklyn Tabernacle.
Christmas Album of the Year: Home for the Holidays, Point of Grace
Best Rock/Contemporary Album: Tonight by TobyMac
Chris Stevens, Jamie Moor and TobyMac accept... “It’s amazing to work with people who hold you accountable and tell you the truth. We love doing what we do, making music that points people toward God’s kingdom. Peace.”
Rap/Hip Hop Recorded Song of the Year: “Walking on the Stars” by Group 1 Crew
"We are absolutely humbled to even be on this stage, hanked Word Records.... ‘To God be the glory.’
Special Event Album of the Year: Passion: Awakening
Award was accepted by Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio. Giglio: “It's awesome that the Doves and Easter have come together. Praise Jesus for what He was willing to do."
Worship Song of the Year: “How Great Is The Love” by Meredith Andrews tied with “Our God” by Matt Redman/Tomlin, et. al.
Accepted by Tomlin, who quoted Romans 8, the whole reason there is music is because God is for us...
Crabb introduced Brian Free, who performed “Never Walk Alone.” Free, who buried both his mother and his father this year, sang the song in memory of gospel singers/musicians/industry people who passed away this year. Their names appeared on a black screen behind him as he sang.
GMA President Ed Leonard: “We lost a lot of great visionaries of the gospel this year... one of the greats this year was Don Butler, one of the founders of the GMA... ‘We stand on his shoulders tonight.’
Leonard introduced Ceasar Mitchell, city councilman from Atlanta, to read a proclamation, welcoming the Doves to Atlanta and celebrating the GMA Dove Awards arrival in Atlanta. “Dove Awards Day: April 20, 2011."
The Impact Award goes to gmc; president & CEO Charley Humbard accepts. “We are working hard to take your work and your ministry across America, and to inspire, uplift and entertain. Our mission is to make an impact. Thanks to all the people at gmc that make this happen.”
Outstanding Mainstream Contribution Award: Steve Harvey
Kirk Franklin was to accept on behalf of Harvey, but Franklin was in rehearsal.
GMA Lifetime Achievement Award: Central South Distribution
Ben Glover and Laura Story present:
Rock/Contemporary Song of the Year: “Something Beautiful” by NEEDTOBREATHE
Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year: "Beautiful, Beautiful" by Francesca Battestelli
Praise & Worship Album of the Year: As Long as it Takes, Meredith Andrews
Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year: “Joseph” by Jason Crabb. This is Crabb’s second award tonight... “Incredible men and great writers... thanks for letting me do this song,” Crabb said to the song’s writers.
Country Recorded Song of the Year: “Nothing Greater Than Grace” by Point of Grace, their third award tonight so far.
“We’re here 20 years later because of such great writers. When we needed it most, this song ministered to us.”
Recorded Music Packaging: Move by Third Day... "My wife is awesome!"
Ben Glover introduces Brian Courtney Wilson who performs “All I Need,” a simple song of prayer.
Kerrie Roberts, nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year, and Eric Walsh announce the following awards:
Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year: Group 1 Crew, Outta Space Love, the second award for Group 1 Crew tonight.
“A shout out to our stylists, who make us beautiful...”
Rock Album of the Year: Horseshoes and Handgrenades, Disciple...
Diciple lead singer: I’m such a huge fan of Christian music. Youth pastor gave me a CD of Whitecross in 1987, and I’ve been hooked ever since. We’ve had a crazy year making this record. We just want to point people to Jesus...”
Long Form Music Video: "Until the Whole World Hears," Casting Crowns
Musical of the Year: “As Sure As My Redeemer Lives... So Shall I”
Paid tribute to the choir members/singers...
Southern Gospel Album of the Year: Greatly Blessed, Gaither Vocal Band
Gospel Album of the Year: The Master Plan by Tamela Mann
“Thank you Jesus!... Baby, can you believe this?! God bless you guys... Thank you!”
Crabb and Mullen return to announce:
Songwriter of the Year: Gerald Crabb
Accepted by Jason Crabb: “He writes from his heart and soul... one of the greatest songwriters on the planet.”
Producer of the Year: Ian Eskelin
“I’m just thrilled," said Eskelin. "A special thank-you to Francesca Battestelli and Sidewalk Prophets for making me look really good. And to my wife, Peggy. You’re awesome...”
Crabb asks a young woman out of the audience to come up on stage to pronounce the Spanish nominees.
Spanish Album of the Year: Con Todo by Hillsong
“The fact that a bunch of Australians would win for a Spanish record confirms that God works in mysterious ways,” said Hillsong’s Joel Houston.
Girl who pronounced Spanish awards was surprised by her boyfriend, who came up on stage, dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him. She said "yes," and the audience erupted in applause.