TobyMac opened the Gospel Music Association’s 44th Annual Dove Awards with a high-energy performance of ‘Eye On It’ and continued to own the night, collecting four awards including pop contemporary album for Eye On It and artist of the year. Jason Crabb also won four honors including inspirational album of the year for ‘Love Is Stronger’ and both Southern gospel song and performance for ‘That’s What the Blood is For.’ Matt Redman, who was touring Europe and unable to attend the awards, won six Doves including song of the year for ‘10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord).’
Hosted by Amy Grant and Kirk Franklin, the awards were held on October 15th in Nashville at Allen Arena on the campus of David Lipscomb University. Look for the show to air Monday, October 21 on UP at 8 PM ET. ‘We all run the race and it’s tough, so we need a night of encouragement,’ Grant said.
The evening included performances from Lecrae, Amy Grant, Tamela Mann, Big Daddy Weave, Colton Dixon, Rhett Walker Band, for KING & COUNTRY, Tasha Cobbs and NEEDTOBREATHE, who closed the evening. There were also special tributes. Karen Peck, the Isaacs, Daily & Vincent and Signature Sound paid homage to Bill Gaither by performing his classic ‘He Touched Me.’ Michael W. Smith and the Newsboys saluted famed evangelist Billy Graham, who turns 95 next month.
Among the evening’s other top winners were gospel sensation Tasha Cobbs and veteran producer Wayne Haun whom each won three Doves. Chris Tomlin, Tamela Mann and Lecrae each took home two Doves.
Never one to rest on his laurels, TobyMac told the press gathered backstage that he is already starting to write for his next album. ‘My rule when I record is I don’t depend on anything that worked last time and I don’t fear anything that didn’t work last time,’ he said. ‘You just go in with open ears.’
for KING & COUNTRY won the new artist of the year honor. Siblings Luke and Joel Smallbone are prepping for their sophomore album. ‘We’re beginning the arduous task of looking at album No. 2,’ Joel commented. ‘The song we did tonight was an unveiling. ‘Fix My Eyes’ is something we’re hoping to put on album No. 2.’
The duo discussed the recent stomach ailment that had sidelined Luke and taken him off the road for a bit. Now recovered and ready for action, the brothers will be hitting the road with the Newsboys and Joel’s wife, Provident Music Group recording artist, Moriah Peters.
Crabb posed for photos backstage with Ed Cash, Wayne Haun and Rascal Flatts’ member Jay DeMarcus, who were the three producers he worked with in recording his current album Love is Stronger. Juggling his four new Doves, Crabb was all smiles. ‘I didn’t know tonight what would happen,’ he told UP backstage. ‘There are a lot of great people in the categories and you just never know. But working with these three guys was the greatest thing. I have a great team and everybody has been wonderful.’
With Crabb’s album winning four awards, it marked the first time DeMarcus had ever won a Dove even though he began his career in the Christian duo East to West before joining Rascal Flatts. ‘My foundation has been in gospel and Christian music,’ he said. ‘This is special.’
For Haun, last night’s wins brought his Dove Awards total to 22. ‘My sister and I used to watch the Dove Awards as kids and we would tape it with the VCR and watch it over and over again, and memorize the speeches and what everyone was wearing, so to be standing on stage and accepting No. 22, if I’m dreaming, don’t wake me. I’m humbled.’
Cobbs was positively exuberant backstage. ‘It is phenomenal,’ she proclaimed. ‘I’m absolutely grateful. The title of my album is and in 2013 God has been revealing His grace. Tonight I was showered with grace. It’s nothing I deserve.’
Mandisa was presented with the ‘Uplift Someone’ Award from UP. ‘It is my absolute joy and privilege to be able to make music, and to share it with my brothers and sisters in Christ,’ she said.
The Doves began at 3 pm with a pre-show ceremony where awards were presented in most of the 42 categories. Hosted by Chris August and Jamie Grace, the event included performances by both hosts as well as Aaron & Amanda Crabb, Jonathan McReynolds and One Girl Nation. Four special Awards were presented during the pre-show including the Impact Award, which went to SoundExchange. Alan Jackson, who has recorded two top-selling gospel albums, was this year’s recipient of the Mainstream Contribution to Gospel Music Award. New Day Christian Distributors founder Dottie Leonard Miller accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her company and Bone Hampton received the Grady Nutt Humor Award.
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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.