How Did the Doves Fly?

By Deborah Evans Price | senior editor,
Posted: Thu, 04/21/2011 - 01:25

album promo image for How Did the Doves Fly? Tune In Sunday to Find Out!

It was a night that paid tribute to gospel music’s veterans and recognized the industry’s emerging talents as the 42nd Annual Gospel Music Association Dove Awards entertained a sold-out crowd at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre. Hosted by the effervescent Sherri Shepherd, the show will be broadcast Sunday night on gmc at 7 p.m. et.

Francesca Battistelli was the evening’s top winner. She was named Artist of the Year and collected her second consecutive Female Vocalist accolade. Her hit “Beautiful, Beautiful” was named Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year.
“What is wrong with you people?” a stunned Battistelli smiled and asked the audience as she took the stage to accept the artist of the year honor. “This is ridiculous. I don’t know what to say.”
It’s been a big year for the talented singer/songwriter who became the mother of a baby boy seven months ago. She also released her highly anticipated sophomore album, Hundred More Years.
Singer/songwriter Chris August collected three Doves, winning in the Male Vocalist and New Artist of the Year categories as well as Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year for his Word Records debut No Far Away

“I love doing this. I love Jesus and I love making music,” August told the audience as he accepted the partially fan-voted award for New Artist. Backstage, August told reporters that the only award he thought he had a chance of winning was New Artist.

“I literally can’t believe it,” he said. “As a Christian, I’m humbled. You don’t look for awards. You just want to make music and serve Jesus, but as a person who has been working at music for many years, to finally have someone say ‘hey, you did a great job on something and here’s an award for it...’ that’s a pretty cool feeling.”
Jason Crabb won two Dove Awards, and “Sometimes I Cry,” penned by his father Gerald Crabb was named Song of the Year.

“I think he’s one of the greatest songwriters on the planet,” Jason said of his dad. “He writes from a place everybody can relate to. I’m glad he’s my father. I learned a lot from him.”
Jason, who co-hosted the pre-show awards with Nicole C. Mullen, also won the Traditional Gospel Recorded Song category for “Go Tell It On the Mountain” and Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year for “Joseph.”
Point of Grace’s recent success in the country genre was recognized as the trio won Country Recorded Song of the Year for “There Is Nothing Greater Than Grace,” Country Album of the Year for No Changin’ Us, and Christmas Album of the Year for Home for the Holidays. This brings Point of Grace total Dove wins to 13. Shelly Breen, Denise Jones and Leigh Cappillino told the press corps backstage that they had texted producer Nathan Chapman to share the good news about their wins. Chapman also produces Taylor Swift, Sara Evans and other country acts.
“God has always been so sweet to put people in our lives that love us well,” said Jones, citing their husbands, family and friends who help them balance life at home and on the road. “We don’t travel like we did 20 years ago. We’re not on the road all the time, but we just try to make every day count. We’re just thankful that we're here and we’re still getting to do what God let us do, and we love it. We’re just excited and to get an award on top of that. It is just icing on the cake.”
Atlanta resident Chris Tomlin was joined by the Passion artists to open the show with the rousing worship anthem “Our God” and that was just the beginning of an impressive string of performances. The highlights were numerous. All of the Female Vocalist nominees Francesca Battistelli, Britt Nicole, Janet Paschal, Kerrie Roberts, Laura Story, Audrey Assad and Natalie Grant honored Sandi Patty by performing some of her best-loved classics such as “Via Delorosa,” “We Shall Behold Him,” and “In the Name of the Lord.”
She joined the ladies on stage to perform her classic “Love In Any Language” before announcing Battistelli as the winner of the Female Vocalist award. It was obvious Patty had been moved by the tribute.   

“Didn’t they do a fabulous job? They were amazing,” said multiple Dove Award-winner Patty, who has won 11 Female Vocalist titles. She won her 40th Dove last night for Inspirational Album of the Year for The Edge of the Divine, which was executive-produced by her eldest daughter, Anna Trent.

“I was sitting there thinking there has been a lot of life lived since the beginning,” she said backstage. “I understand God’s grace and His forgiveness in a way that perhaps when I won my first Dove Award 30 years ago I didn’t understand.”

There were several artist collaborations during the night. Point of Grace teamed with Kenny Rogers on “Standing On the Rock of Your Love,” a song from his first ever gospel album, For the Love of God, which is available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores. One of the most touching collaborations was Steven Curtis Chapman and Casting Crowns' Mark Hall joining Third Day on their powerful anthem “Children of God” from Third Day’s current album Move. During the song, all of Third Day’s children along with Mark and Steven’s kids joined their parents on stage to sing. Third Day frontman Mac Powell and his wife, Aimee; Casting Crowns Mark and his wife Melanie and Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman have all adopted children.

During the program, the Chapmans were presented the Uplift Someone Award, marking the first time the honor had been bestowed by gmc. The Chapmans are founders of Show Hope, an organization that increases awareness of adoption and financially assists families looking to adopt. “He loves this industry dearly,” Mary Beth said of her husband. “Thank you for loving him so we can help these kids.”

The evening was filled with memorable performances, including Tenth Avenue North’s riveting “You Are More,” Mary Mary’s soulful “Wave My Flag," Jason Crabb’s stirring “Sometimes I Cry,”  Battistelli’s “This Is the Stuff” and Kirk Franklin who closed the show with his uplifting hit “Smile.” Throughout the evening, in between acts and during set changes, comedian Chonda Pierce kept the crowd thoroughly entertained with her rapier wit and no-holds-barred comedic jabs at both herself and a few of her brethren.
This year’s show marks the first time in GMA history that the Dove Awards were held outside of Nashville.

“Atlanta has been wonderful to us at every level,” says Ed Leonard, president of Daywind Records and outgoing chairman of the GMA Board of Directors. “Our home is in Nashville, but Atlanta has been a great host for the Doves this year.”


About the Writer

Deborah Evans Price has covered Christian/Gospel music for Billboard magazine since 1994. She also contributes regularly to CountryWeekly, CMA Close Up, Devo’Zine, Christian Single, HomeLife, BMI Music World, and other publications.

A Nashville resident since 1983, Deborah has held editorial posts at Radio & Records, Country News, American Songwriter and Billboard. Amy Grant, Trace Adkins, Brad Paisley, Charlie Daniels, 3 Doors Down, Third Day, Don Henley, Bon Jovi, Chris Rice, Sandra Bullock, Mercy Me, Alan Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Carrie Underwood and Steven Curtis Chapman are among her many interviews. Additionally, she's a sought-after music industry analyst who has been interviewed on CNN, MSNBC, TNN, The Today Show, and ABC PrimeTime Live, among other outlets.

Deborah is a member of the Gospel Music Association's board of directors and a graduate of Leadership Music. She resides south of Nashville with her husband, Gary, and son Trey.

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I did not enjoy the coverage of this years as much as I did last year. The hosting last year was much more personable with actual artist hosting and the banter between them made the viewers feel that it was much more intimate. This year seemed like the show was trying to be like all the "other award shows"
The show only showed a few of the awards of the night, should have been more.

Posted: 41 weeks 4 days ago

If I'm not mistaken, that category was eliminated this year.

Posted: 41 weeks 4 days ago

Do we know who won Youth/Children's Musical of the Year? Can't find that information anywhere! Thanks!

Posted: 42 weeks 1 day ago