(Photo: Passion 2013 Conferences)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Gospel Music Association's 44th Annual Dove Awards returned to Nashville this year to honor a host of recording artists in all genres of Christian music. Hosted by Amy Grant and Kirk Franklin, the performance showcased artists such as TobyMac, Big Daddy Weave, Sidewalk Prophets, Lecrae and newcomer Colton Dixon.
TobyMac walked away with the coveted Artist of the Year honors, and "10,000 Reasons (Bless My Soul)" by Matt Redman was named Song of the Year, beating out 20 others including "Forgiveness," "Live Like That" and "Redeemed."
A resident of Franklin, Tenn., TobyMac also won the award for Contemporary Song of the Year and has gained a reputation for working alongside up- and-coming artist. He talked about his experiences with these new performers and how they motivate him to be a stronger artist himself.
"So many times when I work with new artist all they think about is what they're going to learn from me when in fact I learn so much from them – it's just amazing," TobyMac told reporters during the show.
Not only did he earn top song honors, Redman also led the evenings winners with six awards followed by TobyMac and Jason Crabb, with four each. Tasha Cobb and producer Wayne Haun scored three each. Chris Tomlin, Tamela Mann and LeCrae scored two each.
Devin McGlamery, the lead singer with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, along with Daily & Vincent took County Song of the Year honors with "From My Rags to His Riches." "It's such a great honor to win at the Dove Awards this year and I'm excited the show is back in Nashville too," McGlamery told CP soon after his award was presented in a pre-show ceremony.
Praise and Worship Album of the Year went to Chris Tomlin. "It's been an amazing year and I give all the glory to Jesus for the incredible ride He is taking us on. Winning a Dove Award is an honor and I couldn't do without the help of my band and lots of people who make this possible."
In the growing style of Christian Rap, LeCrae took home top honors with "Gravity," and he also presented an award during the show.
Highlights of the evening included touching tributes by Michael W. Smith and the Newsboys, to Billy Graham. Talented vocalists Karen Peck, Daily & Vincent, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound and The Isaacs honored the Gaither Vocal Band in a stunning collaboration of "He Touched Me."
Country legend Alan Jackson was awarded the Outstanding Mainstream Contribution to Gospel Music Award. The honor is given to an artist or entity outside of Christian Music who helps bring the gospel to a wider audience.