Dove Awards: Tomlin Leads Noms, GMA Starts Fan Voting

Chris Tomlin

Chris Tomlin

Chris Tomlin is the top artist nominee for the 2009 Dove Awards. The reigning three-time Male Vocalist of the Year scored seven nominations, revealed at this morning’s press conference, including Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist, Song, Praise & Worship Album, Worship Song, Special Event Album, and Contemporary Gospel Recorded Song. The 40th Annual GMA Dove Awards will be held April 23 at the Grand Ole Opry House and will be broadcast nationwide live on the Gospel Music Channel at 7 PM/CT.

Natalie Grant, Casting Crowns and newcomer Francesca Battistelli each received five nominations. Grant, the current three-time Female Vocalist of the Year, received another nomination in that category, as well as nods for Song of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Album, Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song, and Worship Song. Four-time Group of the Year winners Casting Crowns are again up in that category, as well as Artist of the Year, Christmas Album, Short Form Video and Long Form Video. Battistelli, who burst on the Christian music scene in the summer of 2008, is up for Female Vocalist, New Artist, Song of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Song, and Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year.

In a growing awards show trend, fans will be able to vote on awards for the upcoming show. For the first time, fans will vote for Artist of the Year and New Artist of the Year through www.gospelmusicchannel.com and www.doveawards.com. Voting opens Feb. 26—the same day online voting opens for GMA members—and continues through the live Dove Awards broadcast. It will account for one-third of the total vote in those two categories, while GMA member votes will account for the remaining two-thirds.

Tickets to the 40th Annual GMA Dove Awards are on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 615-242-0303. Select nominations are below, or click here for a complete list.

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Casting Crowns
Steven Curtis Chapman
Fireflight
Marvin Sapp
Third Day
TobyMac
Chris Tomlin

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Addison Road
Francesca Battistelli
Fee
Jonathan Nelson
Remedy Drive
Chris Sligh
Tenth Avenue North

COUNTRY RECORDED SONG
“Did I Make A Difference”; Front Row Seats; The Oak Ridge Boys; Rob Crosby, Bill Anderson; Spring Hill Music Group
“Good Side Of Goodbye”; Home For Now; Living Waters Trio; Wayne Haun, Dave Clark; Vine Records
“I Saw God Today”; Troubadour; George Strait; Rodney Clawson, Monty Criswell, Wade Kirby; MCA Nashville
“I Wish”; How You Live Deluxe Edition; Point of Grace; Cindy Morgan, Phil Madeira; Word Records
“Jesus And John Wayne”; Lovin’ Life; Gaither Vocal Band; Gloria Gaither, William J. Gaither, Doug Johnson, Kim Williams, Benjamin Gaither; Gaither Music Group

COUNTRY ALBUM
Around the Bend; Randy Travis; Kyle Lehning; Warner Bros. Records
Home For Now; Living Waters Trio; Terry Thompson; Vine Records
Hymned Again; Bart Millard; Brown Bannister; INO Records
I Turn To You; Richie McDonald; Frank Myers, Gary Baker, Tommy Lee James; Lucid Entertainment
Runaway Train; Crabb Revival; Ben Isaacs, Tre’ Corley; Daywind Records

SPECIAL EVENT ALBUM
Billy: The Early Years Official Motion Picture Soundtrack;
Brooks & Dunn, Mac Powell, Sara Evans, Alan Jackson, China Edelman, Patty Griffin, Brandon Heath, Gregory Page, Michael W. Smith, Melinda Doolittle, Roy Orbison, Brad Paisley, Josh Turner, Sierra Hull, John Cowan, Harry Stinson, Ronnie Bowman, Ronnie McCoury, John Wesley Ryles; Anastasia Brown; Arista Nashville, Essential Records

Country Bluegrass Homecoming Volume One; Gaither Vocal Band, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, The Grascals, Buddy Greene, The Isaacs, Gordon Mote, Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, The Booth Brothers, George Jones, Wesley Pritchard, Reggie & Ladye Love Smith, Brittany Allen, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Charlotte Ritchie, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Jimmy Fortune, Dailey & Vincent, Jason Crabb, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, Cherryholmes, Lisa Daggs-Charette, Vince Gill, Sonya Isaacs, Becky Isaacs Bowman; Bill Gaither; Gaither Music Group

How Great Thou Art: Gospel Favorites from the Grand Ole Opry; The Charlie Daniels Band, Mac Powell, Alan Jackson, Patty Loveless, Ronnie Milsap, Ricky Skaggs & The Whites, Sara Evans, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, Loretta Lynn, Vince Gill, Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood; Steve Gibson; Sony BMG Nashville
Passion: God of This City; Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, David Crowder*Band, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, Fee, Matt Redman; Nathan Nockels; Sparrow Records, sixsteps Records

Your Name; Joel Auge, Leeland Mooring, Paul Baloche, Aaron Shust, Phil Wickham, Josh Reedy, Ayiesha Woods, Ian Eskelin, Mark Stuart, Vicky Beeching, Jared Anderson, Christy Johnson, Sean Loche, Aaron Boyd, Jason Roy, Wes Willis, Lincoln Brewster, Adam Agee; Ian Eskelin; Integrity Music

Photo courtesy: Judy Nelson Group

At today's nomination announcement: (L-R) Lisa Kimmey, Gospel Music Channel; Dan Evans and Jackie Evans, of NBC's Biggest Loser. Photo courtesy: Judy Nelson Group

Owen Launches Album On GMA

Jake Owen is prepping for next week’s debut of his sophomore album, Easy Does It, on RCA Nashville. He will kick off release day, Feb. 24, with a return visit to ABC’s Good Morning America and perform the project’s lead single, “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You.” The song is climbing MusicRow’s Country Breakout chart and is currently at No. 15.

With co-writing credits on eight of the new album’s 10 songs, Owen says the disc is very much a reflection of his personality. “I’m pretty fortunate to be around a lot of people that I look up to, and I think the common consistent lesson that I learn from all of them is that it’s all about truth,” says the singer. “This is what I am … this is what I sing about … this is what I do. I love to hear where people come from. I like to hear what they’re all about, and that’s what makes music so different.”

Owen recently earned a pair of nominations for the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, where he’s up for Vocal Event of the Year, as well as the fan-voted Top New Male Vocalist. Voting is currently underway through March 5 at www.gactv.com.

Performers for 40th Anniversary CRS Jam

DigitalRodeo.com and Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc.® have announced a number of performers for the 40th anniversary concert to close CRS-40 at Cadillac Ranch on Friday night, March 6 at 10:30 PM. Artists confirmed to date include Emerson Drive, Andy Griggs, Julianne Hough, Jamie O’Neal, James Otto, Blake Shelton, Jimmy Wayne, Chuck Wicks and Darryl Worley, among others. Additional performers continue to be confirmed.

“The lineup for The 40th Anniversary Jam is a great example of the diversity of artists that have experienced success at country radio,” says DigitalRodeo.com Director of Marketing and Promotions John Pyne. “We have artists with a proven history of No. 1 hits, as well as the emerging artists that will be stars tomorrow. The common thread is the role of country radio in the success of their careers.”

The unique theme of The 40th Anniversary Jam: A Musical Thanks to Radio is for artists to celebrate 40 years of Country Radio Seminar with performances of their favorite cover songs from the last four decades. The event will be held following the New Faces of Country Music Show® to officially close out CRS-40.

CRS-40 will be held March 4-6, 2009 at the Nashville Convention Center. The regular registration rate of $699 has been extended through the opening of the event. www.crb.org.

Americana DISClaimer (2/18/09)

This week, I’m tidying up a few loose ends in my Americana listening stack.

This truly is a genre of great singer-songwriters, and three of them have current albums that you absolutely must own. They are John Hiatt’s Same Old Man, James McMurtry’s Just Us Kids and Bruce Robison’s His Greatest, which earns our Disc of the Day prize today.

Listen and believe.

CHRIS VALLILLO/Battle Cry Of Freedom
Writer: George F. Root; Producer: Chris Vallillo; Publisher: public domain; Gin Ridge (Track) (www.chrisvallillo.com)
—I am writing this on President’s Day, and this year we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. What better day to remind everyone that this slide guitarist and folk singer has an album called Abraham Lincoln in Song? Vallillo performs the melodies that were popular during Abe’s lifetime, beginning with this call to arms. Ordinarily played as an uptempo tune, he slows it down to bring out the beauty of its ebbing and cresting melody. He’s such a good player that it’s a shame that this is the CD’s only instrumental. Other tunes include “Aura Lee,” “Darling Nelly Gray,” “Dixie’s Land,” “Lorena,” “Hard Times Come Again No More” and “We Are Coming Father Abraham.”

JOHN HIATT/Same Old Man
Writer: none listed; Producer: John Hiatt; Publisher: none listed; New West (track) (www.johnhiatt.com)
—The title tune to this Nashville treasure’s current CD is a gently rolling love lyric. “A few less brain cells, a lot less hair/Honey, tell me, do you still care?” Those of us of a certain age can certainly relate. I was the one yelling loudest when he won his Americana lifetime-achievement honor and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame last fall. I own every one of John Hiatt’s albums, and so should you.

THE MIGHTY HANDFUL/Reconsider Baby
Writer: Lowell Fulson; Producer: Scotty Moore; Publisher: Arc, ASCAP; BMCD (track) (www.scottymoore.net)
—This is the tune that led to this extraordinary collaboration. The Mighty Handful was Bob Moore, Boots Randolph, Bucky Barrett, Steve Shepherd, Fred Satterfield and Buddy Spicher with Billy Swan on vocals and Scotty Moore at the board. The self-titled CD is loose-limbed blues all the way through, recorded live. This is one of those discs I never got around to last year. Better late than never.

BRUCE ROBISON/Travelin’ Soldier
Writer: Bruce Robison; Producer: Bruce Robison; Publisher: Tiltawhirl/Carnival/Bruce Robison, BMI; Premium (track)
—The album is called His Greatest. You need it. Badly. It’s Bruce singing his own versions of “Wrapped,” “Angry All the Time,” “Desperately” and the other hits he’s written for others. My favorite leads off the collection, an awesome war song that the Dixie Chicks took up the charts in 2002. Wife Kelly Willis sings harmony on the choruses, and the band is rootsy and terrific. I am such a total fan of this guy.

JAMES McMURTRY/Cheney’s Toy
Writer: none listed; Producer: James McMurtry; Publisher: none listed; Lightning Rod (track) (www.jamesmcmurtry.com)
—McMurtry’s latest is called Just Us Kids. As always, every performance is compelling. On this one, he intones, “You’re no longer daddy’s boy / You’re the one they’re all afraid of / But you’re only Cheney’s toy.” Sung to a military march tempo, this will make the hairs on the back of your neck tingle. Last fall, it was a nominee for Americana Song of the Year. No wonder.

Bug Appoints Murrah SVP Nashville

Bug Music Publishing has appointed renowned songwriter and independent publisher Roger Murrah to senior vice president, Nashville. Effective immediately, he will be overseeing the Bug Music office in Nashville and will report directly to CEO John Rudolph in Los Angeles. Under the terms of the agreement, Bug Music has also acquired a portion of Murrah Music and its associated catalogs, with Murrah staff writers Neal Coty, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Jon Henderson, Lisa McCallum, Robert Deitch and Matt Dame set to move to the Bug umbrella.

With over three decades in the music industry, Murrah’s key responsibilities will be directing the overall objectives of Bug Nashville, managing the Bug Music collection of copyrights, and developing staff writers with VP John Allen, and Creative Director Sara Johnson, as well as continuing his own songwriting. He was most recently Chairman of Murrah Music Corporation, the company he founded in 1990. He is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Chairman of its Foundation, and was honored as BMI’s Songwriter of the Decade for the ’90s.

“I’m delighted to find someone with Roger’s experience, credentials and contacts to enhance our Nashville office, my hometown,” said Rudolph. “This was an innovative deal that will allow us to pursue some really creative opportunities and redefine the way a publishing company operates. Roger has a rare combination of creative and business skills that complement each other very well.”

“I am very excited to be a part of John Rudolph’s vision for Bug Music here in Nashville. I look forward to working closely with John Allen, Kim Hylick, Sara Johnson, and the entire professional and creative staff, as well as the company’s partners and clients here in Nashville,” Murrah said. “Bug Music has a rich history of putting songs and songwriters first, which has always been my guiding philosophy in this business. Bug’s commitment to Nashville is clearly shown by this unprecedented, innovative opportunity John is giving me. I can’t think of another company I’d rather be with.”

Murrah will be based in the Bug Music Nashville office at 33 Music Square West, Suite 104B. He can be reached at 615-313-7676 or [email protected]

JC Penney Signs on to Sponsor Rascal Flatts Tour

J.C. Penney Company today (2/19) announced its official sponsorship of the Rascal Flatts American Living Unstoppable Tour presented by JCPenney. The fully integrated two-year sponsorship will kick off June 5, with the tour hitting approximately 60 cities across the nation each year.

The partnership is designed to promote American Living, the retailer’s affordable, all-American lifestyle brand developed by Polo Ralph Lauren’s Global Brand Concepts. In conjunction with the tour, Rascal Flatts has written a new song inspired by American Living, which will be used in commercials and will be available exclusively on a special version of the Unstoppable CD sold at J.C. Penney stores.

Mike Boylson, chief marketing officer for J.C. Penney, cited the Flatts’ “significant crossover appeal and passion for the brand,” as the main reason behind the sponsorship. Rascal Flatts’ support of American Living began when the band played at its launch party in February 2008.

Montage Reorganizing—Updated 2/19 at 3 PM

Here is the official word from a representative for Missouri-based Hedgewood International, LLC, the parent company of three-year-old Montage Music:

“Montage is not closing, but rather Montage is undergoing a reorganization. Our management examined the business and the marketplace, and unfortunately, realized the business would not be profitable given this challenging economic environment. Our intent (at this point) is to preserve existing assets and therefore it is not viable to continue investing under this current business model. Like all companies facing a volatile economy, an honest evaluation of the business model had to be done. Montage Publishing will remain operational and we will continue to support the song-writing efforts of our people. Those jobs will not be affected during this transition.”

Trent Jeffcoat, Bonnie Bishop, Tami Hinesh, Ben Cooper, Minnie Murphy, and Porter Howell are all signed to Montage’s publishing arm.

Artists on the label’s roster included The Road Hammers, Minnie Murphy, Little Texas and Andy Griggs. According to the Hedgewood rep, “The artists associated with Montage will be handled on a case-by-case basis. We have implemented a process by which we are notifying artists of the situation. At the time of notification we will explore all available options with the artists. At this time, it would be premature to discuss other specific opportunities.”

The Road Hammers (Jason McCoy, Clayton Bellamy, Chris Byrne) are set to release a new album in their home country Canada next week (2/24), and the rep says this plan will not be impacted by recent developments at Montage.

More than ten people were employed by the label headed by CEO/Pres. Allen Butler.

Former Southeast Regional Ted Wagner can be reached at [email protected] and 615-790-9007.

If you are a former Montage staffer and would like MusicRow to print your new contact information please post it as a comment to this story or email [email protected]

Luke Lewis Renews Contract

Though it remains unofficial, MusicRow has learned UMG Nashville Chairman & CEO Luke Lewis has inked a new, multi-year contract with Universal Music Group. The deal comes on the heels of such sales successes as country duo Sugarland, whose latest album Love On The Inside was released in July 2008 and certified Platinum two months later. Lewis took the reigns overseeing the label group made up of MCA, Mercury, and Lost Highway in 2002. He segued into the role after 10 years heading Mercury Nashville.

Other chart-toppers signed to UMG Nashville include George Strait, Gary Allan, Lee Ann Womack, Billy Currington and Josh Turner, as well as up-and-comers Julianne Hough, Ashton Shepherd, Hayes Carll, and 3-time Grammy nominee Jamey Johnson.

LifeNotes: Scotty Turner

A Nashville memorial service was held this morning, Feb. 18, for the multi-faceted music industry figure Scotty Turner. Nashville Association of Talent Directors president Rod Harris announced Turner’s death at the NATD’s monthly meeting last week.

Turner was a musician, record producer, label executive, music publisher and songwriter. Early in his career, he was the lead guitarist for Tommy Sands, Guy Mitchell and Eddie Fisher. He then became a producer at A&M Records in Los Angeles. His songs were recorded by the label’s Tijuana Brass and The Baja Marimba Band.

His first publishing job was as the general manager of Central Songs, also in Los Angeles. He then became the head of the country division of United Artists Records, which brought him from the West Coast to Nashville. As a record producer, he worked with Slim Whitman, Jimmy Bryant, Del Reeves and Jimmy Clanton. He is particularly associated with Jim Cartwright, whom he worked with for 23 years.

Turner was the writer of more than 400 songs recorded by Eddy Arnold, Nilsson, Dean Martin, Charley Pride, Tammy Wynette, Porter Wagoner, Jimmy Dean, Wanda Jackson, Wynn Stewart, Red Simpson, The Del Vikings, Robert Gordon, Skeets McDonald and Gene Vincent among many others. As a songwriter, one of his most notable collaborators was the late Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II and the star of dozens of Hollywood films. Other co-writers included Buddy Holly, Herb Alpert, Nilsson, Doc Pomas, Red Lane, Alex Harvey, Cliffie Stone and Mac Davis.

Turner’s biggest hits include “Shutters and Boards” (Jerry Wallace, 1962 & Slim Whitman, 1970), “When the Wind Blows in Chicago” (Roy Clark, 1965), “Hicktown” (Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1965), “Little Pink Mack” (Kay Adams, 1966), “Your Forevers Don’t Last Very Long” (Jean Shepard, 1967) and “Trucker’s Prayer” (Dave Dudley, 1967). He was also the author of the book Song Publisher’s Perspective.

He was born Graham Morrison Turnbull in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He died while visiting his son in upstate New York on Feb. 9 at age 77. He is survived by his son, Trevor; daughter, Adrienne (Jeffery) Cullen; granddaughter, Eve; and former wife, Diane Iungano (Jackson).

The Nashville service took place at Woodlawn Roesch-Patton Funeral Home’s Dignity Hall at 11:30 AM. Memorials may be made to Marathon For A Better Life, PO Box 268, Warnerville, NY 12187 or to a Nashville Cancer Charity of your choice.

Wicks Scores Dr. Pepper Sponsorship

Chuck Wicks has signed a year-long sponsorship agreement with Dr. Pepper to support the brand’s Academy of Country Music Awards promotion. As part of the deal, the RCA Nashville artist will be featured online and on in-store promotional materials at major retailers nationwide. Dr. Pepper will also bring Wicks to select retail locations for album signings and performances, and will offer consumers a chance to win a VIP experience to meet him at the ACM Awards in April.

Wicks, who had the Top 5 hit “Stealing Cinderella,” was recently confirmed as a celebrity cast member of the eighth season of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars, premiering March 9. His new single is called “Man of the House.”