Newcomer Nordeman earns 5; Smith named top male vocalist
If it's April, it must be time for Michael W. Smith to carry home more Dove Awards.
Smith, who has won at least one Dove in every year since 1989, was named artist of the year at last night's 34th annual edition of the Gospel Music Association's celebration of Christian-oriented music.
''I didn't know that, about having won every year,'' Smith said backstage at Gaylord Entertainment Center. ''I found out a long time ago that winning awards doesn't bring me peace. But I am extremely grateful.''
Smith also won for male vocalist, praise and worship album and long-form music video (bringing his career Dove total to 40), and was honored with a special tribute during the awards.
But relative newcomer Nichole Nordeman kept the Doves from becoming one big Smitty Show.
Nordeman's songs and recordings earned her the female vocalist, songwriter, song (for Holy), pop/contemporary song (Holy), and pop/contemporary album (Woven & Spun) trophies.
Pregnant with her first child, Nordeman was emotional in accepting her accolades. She blamed both the gravity of the moment and a self-described ''hormonal train wreck.''
Nordeman, whose only prior Dove was for female vocalist in 2001, is a plaintive, piano-based songstress whose music is somewhat reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan or Amy Grant. As usual, the Doves recognized artists who spanned numerous forms of popular music, from traditional gospel and bluegrass to hard rock to hip-hop.
Nashville-based GRITS, a duo that earlier this year became the first Music City hip-hop act to be nominated for a Grammy award, notched a Dove win in the rap/hip-hop/dance album category (for The Art of Translation).
And urban fusion group Souljahz was a double-winner, triumphing in the rap/hip hop/dance recorded song category (All Around the World) and also tying Out of Eden's This Is Your Life for best urban album (with The Fault Is History).
Even country-gospel was represented, as Grand Ole Opry star Randy Travis' Rise and Shine garnered the country album prize.
Still, the major, cross-genre categories went to acts who play rock or pop music:
Formed five years ago in Melbourne, Australia, the rock-oriented Paul Colman Trio rode No. 1 singles Turn and Run to a best new artist win.
Producer Brown Bannister's work on albums by Rachael Lampa, Amy Grant, Avalon, Joy White and others helped him to a best producer nod.
And rock band Third Day won its third straight all-genre group of the year award. (Third Day also won the rock recorded song prize for 40 Days).
''It never gets old,'' lead singer Mac Powell said.
''Artist of the year is probably thought of as the biggest award of the night, but for us, the group award is bigger.
Third Day member Brad Avery noted the rise of young, edgy bands such as The Elms and Switchfoot.
He said his band, which recently released a comparably gentle album of praise and worship songs, will soon return to loud guitars and big drums.
''This is our 11th year as a band,'' Avery said.
''We're seeing people coming up and we're feeling the pressure. We want to remind everybody that we're a rock band.''
The PAX network will air the Dove Awards at 8 p.m. April 19.
By Albert H. Lee