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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dove Awards 2012 Part 2

Each year, the Gospel Music Association aims to honor Christian musicians for their talent and achievement.  The Dove Awards cover all the major Christian genres, including: rock, pop, gospel, country, hip hop and worship.

For this post, I want to talk about the nominees in the categories of Rock Album of the Year and Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year.  If you missed Part 1, where I cover the nominees for Rock Song of the Year, you can check it out here. For each of the nominees, I listed the album title and the name of the group.

Rock Album of the Year

Control by Abandon
Until We Have Faces by Red
Vice Verses by Switchfoot
What I've Become by Ashes Remain
With Shivering Hearts We Wait by Blindside

It was no surprise that the Dove Awards included the rock heavyweights of Red and Switchfoot in this category.  Both artists were very successful this past year with their new albums.  One of the biggest bright spots of last year was the return of Blindside.  However, I was a little shocked to see them receive a nomination.  They deserve to be recognized for their latest project, but their style of music is not usually Dove Awards material.  I was happy for their inclusion, but just a little surprised.  Two of the smaller groups, Abandon and Ashes Remain, also picked up nominations.  Both groups are fairly new in the music industry, and picked up a lot of steam last year with their latest albums. 

This category is fairly strong, but there were a couple of snubs.  As I said in Part 1 of my coverage of the Dove Awards, Icon For Hire should have received a nomination.  Not only was their debut very strong, but they set sales records for new bands on Tooth and Nail.  I know a lot of critics weren’t as fond of their new album as some of their previous work, but FM Static deserved a nomination for My Brain Says Stop, But My Heart Says Go.  By changing up their sound and adding some serious themes to the lyrics, FM Static’s new album was very impressive.

This leads me to the questions of, “Who should win, and who will win?”  I would like to see either Ashes Remain or Blindside pull out this award.  For a debut album, I thought What I’ve Become by Ashes Remain was exceptional.  Their lyrics were very strong, vocals fit perfectly, and the rock radio sound was solid.  On the other hand, 2011 was a great year because of the return of Blindside.  Even though With Shivering Hearts We Wait was not as good of an album as I had hoped for, it was still a solid addition to their music collection.  I would love to see Ashes Remain or Blindside pick up this award.

The bigger question is, “Who will win?”  I think this category is all but wrapped up.  I would be shocked to see anyone besides Red or Switchfoot win this award.  Both Red and Switchfoot have been very successful in the past at the Dove Awards.  I think it will be a very close competition, but Switchfoot will narrowly win in this category.

Here are the nominees for the Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year.

Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year

Ad Astra Per Aspera by Abandon Kansas
Come Home by Luminate
Crazy Love by Hawk Nelson
Mountains Move by Kristian Stanfill
The Reckoning by NEEDTOBREATHE

Just like the earlier nominees, two bands stick out as the frontrunners.  Hawk Nelson and NEEDTOBREATHE are the two heavy hitters in this category.  The other three artists are fairly new and to a point, relatively unknown.  Abandon Kansas has been around the independent scene for a few years, but they’ve only been a part of Gotee Records for two full length albums.  Luminate’s record, Come Home, is technically their debut full length, but they have released a couple of independent EPs.  As much as I love the music of Kristian Stanfill, I was surprised to see him make this list.  I would categorize Stanfill’s music more in the line of worship than rock. 

Once again, there were a couple of snubs.  Just like the Rock/Contemporary Song of the Year category, I wish Peter Furler received a nomination.  On Fire proved that Furler is one of the forerunners in Christian music today.  A second snub was Love Riot by Worth Dying For.  By blending together rock and worship, Love Riot was easily my favorite record of 2011.

I would love to see Hawk Nelson pull this award out.  They haven’t had much success in the past at the Dove Awards.  With the release of arguably their best album to date, I believe Hawk Nelson should win for their release of Crazy Love.  However, I think NEEDTOBREATHE has this category locked up.  Besides Hawk Nelson, I really don’t foresee any of the other bands giving this southern rock group competition.   

The 43rd annual Dove Awards will be presented on April 19, and televised nationally on GMC TV on April 24 at 8 p.m. EST.

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