“Congratulations to all our artists and producers who were honored with Dove Awards," said label president Barry Jennings. "We are very proud of them and appreciate their dedication to their ministries and crafts."
Grammy nominees Jeff & Sheri Easter took home two awards at this year’s ceremony: Bluegrass/Country Album of the Year for Small Town, Celebrating 30 Years of Music & Marriage (Spring Hill Music) as well as Country Recorded Song of the Year for “Small Town Someone (Lunch),” written by Sheri Easter, Kenna Turner West and Jason Cox.
Sheri commented, “It's so exciting to receive something like this for our celebratory 30th anniversary project. The entire project is about the simple offering of oneself to God's work and watching how He multiplies those gifts into something big. I'm so grateful after all these years that our music still touches lives!”
The album, produced by Jeff and Sheri Easter, Madison Easter and Greg Cole features several songs which were co-written by Sheri along with some of Nashville’s most noted songwriters. “Small Town Someone (Lunch)” was a recent No. 1 single on The Singing News national radio chart. Jeff & Sheri are the recipients of eight GMA DOVE Awards, 15 Singing News Fan Awards, three Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music Association Awards and two International Country Gospel Music Association honors.
Grammy-nominated husband-and-wife duo Joey+Rory were honored with the Dove Award for Long Form Video of the Year for the DVD Hymns That Are Important to Us. Directed by Daniel Grace and produced by Aaron Carnahan, Joel McAfee and Bill Gaither, Hymns That Are Important to Us held the #1 spot on the Music Video Sales chart for months and has now reached gold status.
The audio companion to the acclaimed video is the first recording in nearly a decade to top both the Top Country and Top Christian Albums charts. The CD debuted at No. 1 on the Country Music chart, remained in the Top 10 on that chart for 20 weeks and was recently named the No. 2 Top-Selling Country Album so far for 2016.
Country Music Hall of Famer and Statler Brothers member Jimmy Fortune was honored with his first Dove Award win for Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year, “Life’s Railway to Heaven”), featured on his top-selling recording Hits & Hymns. The star-studded project, produced by Ben Isaacs, features collaborations with Vince Gill, the Oak Ridge Boys, Dailey & Vincent, Ricky Skaggs and others.
Acclaimed Southern Gospel trio the Booth Brothers are also first-time Dove Award winners, honored with Southern Gospel Album of the Year for Still (Gaither Music Group), produced by Jason Webb, Lari Goss, Ronnie Booth, Michael Booth and Jim Brady.
“The Dove Award is an extremely prestigious honor,” said group member Michael Booth. “With heartfelt gratitude we thank the GMA and all those who voted for us. We will continue to strive for excellence and represent gospel music and the gospel message with all that we have within us.”
Known for their intricate three-part harmonies, the trio, made up of Michael, his brother Ronnie Booth and Paul Lancaster, has won over 45 Singing News Fan Awards and received three previous GMA Dove nominations. Their current single, “Dirt on My Hands,” is in the Top 10 and climbing on the national radio chart.
We Will Stand (Gaither Music Group/CCM United) won Special Event Album of the Year. The DVD companion, which was nominated for Long Form Video of the Year, claimed the No. 1 position when it debuted on Billboard’s Music Video chart and on the Christian Music Video chart, according to Nielsen Soundscan. In addition, the We Will Stand audio recording landed at No. 10 on the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) chart.
A concert event dubbed “the greatest night in the history of contemporary Christian music” by its executive producer, Stan Moser, the recordings feature 30 of the most popular and awarded CCM artists of all time, who gathered for a-once-in-a-lifetime concert event to celebrate 40 years of history. The DVDs also capture some of the stories behind the music through interviews with Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Sandi Patty, Bill Gaither and others.
From the Daywind label, Gaither Homecoming favorites Karen Peck & New River garnered two big wins for the evening, including Southern Gospel Song of the Year for the radio hit “I Am Blessed,” written by Karen Peck, Kenna West and Michael Farren. The trio was also named Southern Gospel Artist of the Year.
Also in the Southern Gospel genre, That’s Where The Story Begins was recognized as Musical of the Year, written by Dave Clark, Gerald Crabb and Mike Harland, and released through Daywind Publishing and LifeWay Worship. And the award for Choral Collection of the Year went to Southern Gospel Songs (10 New, Emerging and Classic Hits for Southern Gospel Choir), (arranger & orchestrator) Marty Hamby.
A highlight of the Southern Gospel segment of the televised show was Gerald Wolfe’s Gospel Music Hymn Sing. The audience was encouraged to sing along as Gerald led a medley of the most beloved hymns of the church. Featuring crowd-pleasing performances by the Isaacs, Joseph Habedank, the Kingdom Heirs and Karen Peck, the choir also included popular artists such as the Jim Brady Trio and the Mylon Hayes Family, as well as instrumentalists Stan Whitmire, Sandy Payton and Ben Wolfe. The audience itself was a major part of the sound of the segment with attendees standing, singing and worshipping the entire time.
For a complete list of winners in all genres, click here.