Gospel Music Veterans Take Home This Year's Grammys

The 48th Annual Grammy Awards saw gospel music’s veterans receiving the honors, with recording artist CeCe Winans stepping away as the event’s big winner with two awards.

Winans, who was nominated for a total of three Grammys, took home awards in the categories of Best Gospel Performance for her song “Pray” and Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album for her September 2005 release, Purified, marking the first time that Winans, a previous winner of five Grammy Awards, received multiple wins in a single night.

Picking up her third Grammy was gospel superstar Yolanda Adams, who won the award for Best Gospel Song for her recent hit “Be Blessed.”

Winning this year’s Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album award was Verity Records recording artist Donnie McClurkin for his live compilation, Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs, bringing his career Grammy total to two. McClurkin is reportedly planning to tour together with Winans this fall.

ForeFront Records’ rock group Audio Adrenaline garnered their second consecutive Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album for their acclaimed ninth studio release Until My Heart Caves In. The band, who recently announced their retirement due to frontman Mark Stuart’s ongoing vocal challenges, was honored to grab the award.

“This Grammy is especially significant for us because it’s our last year together as a band, and it’s about doing what we love to do,” said Stuart. “Although it’s our last year, it’s not all ending here. We will continue on with our efforts for Haiti with the Hands and Feet Project.”

The group is scheduled to release their final recording, Adios, later this year.

Singer/songwriter Amy Grant picked up her fifth Grammy Award for her album Rock of Ages…Hymns & Faith, winning the award for Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album. The win marks a first in the category for Grant, who is best known for her pop vocal work in the 80’s.

One fresh face in this year’s winners circle was Atlanta-based worship team Casting Crowns, who picked up their first Grammy award for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album for their sophomore release Lifesong. The album debuted last August at No. 9 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart, one of only two Christian artists without crossover radio airplay to break the Top 10 on the Billboard chart in ten years.

Casting Crowns lead singer Mark Hall, commented, “We were honored to represent Jesus and Christian music at the Grammys this year along with the other nominees in our category. God is showing through us that He can do whatever He wants with whomever He chooses. Our prayer is that we pointed to Jesus tonight and this award is placed at His feet.”

In other wins, the late Fred Rogers, best known for his work on the popular children’s television program “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,” was honored for his songwriting talents, with the compilation CD Songs from the Neighborhood: The Music of Mister Rogers winning a Grammy for Best Musical Album for Children.

The album featured the talents of twelve top artists including Grant, Winans, BJ Thomas, Ricky Skaggs and others, and was produced by the now two-time Grammy Award-winning producer Dennis Scott.

“I’m so glad that Fred’s music is getting the recognition it deserves and that all of the effort that went into creating this tribute has been so rewarded. Even if we hadn’t been honored, it’s enough for me to know that the Rogers family and his non-profit organization are so supportive.”

Scott’s six-year-old son promised his dad that he’d make a Grammy award for him even if he didn’t win. “Now, I guess he’ll have to sculpt an Oscar for me,” he quipped.

Rogers’ surviving widow, Joanne, was thrilled to hear about the album’s win, saying, “I love every song on this recording, and it’s heartwarming to me that those who worked so hard to present this tribute to Fred have been deservedly honored by their peers in the Grammy organization!”

For a complete list of winners, visit www.grammy.com/Grammy_Awards/Annual_Show/48_nominees.aspx.